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HIV Center

HIV Treatment

HIV treatment
Although there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, successful treatment can significantly reduce the number of infected cells in the body.  HIV treatment can inhibit the progression of HIV, thus increasing the survival rate.  HIV infected mothers, for example, can significantly decrease the likelihood of their baby contracting HIV by a prompt treatment plan.   

In some cases, successful HIV medical treatment can slow down progression of the illness to the point of making the HIV virus undetectable.  This does not mean, however, that a person is safe from transmitting HIV.  Regardless of the remission of the HIV virus, an HIV positive person still has, and can transmit, the HIV virus. 

Medications
Most commonly, HIV treatment takes the form of medication, which must be taken consistently, in order to prevent the virus from becoming more drug-resistant.  There are a wide array of specific antiretroviral HIV drugs currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (approximately 30).  Side affects of HIV medications may include bone loss, metabolic changes, nausea, vomiting, etc. 

The 4 types of medication for HIV (categorized by action) include:

  1. Entry and fusion inhibitors
  2. Integrase inhibitors 
  3. Protease inhibitors 
  4. Reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors 

Multi-drug combination products also exist to treat HIV.  In these cases, more than one type of medication from the above list is used to treat HIV.  Also known as HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy), this approach is effective at suppressing the HIV virus by decreasing the number of virus variations that occurs during the virus' progression.

Prevention
If you are HIV positive, take steps now so that you can protect your health in the future; you may be able to delay AIDS with proper treatment.  Additionally, you should be screened for TB (tuberculosis), sexually treated diseases.  Doctors also recommend that HIV+ patients focus on living a healthy lifestyle by not smoking, drinking excessively, and by stopping the usage of illegal drugs. 

Abstinence from sex is the best way to prevent the spread of HIV to your partner, but condoms may be used to reduce the risk of HIV transmission (but condoms are not 100% effective in reducing transmission of HIV).  Finally, your doctor may know of a counselling group where you can meet other people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.  Support groups can help you deal with both the physical and emotional aspects of being diagnosed.  By paying attention to your health, and by seeking treatment for HIV, you and your doctor may have greater control over HIV. 

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