Taking Antiretroviral Treatment With Other Medicines
If you are taking other medications or drugs including: treatments for other health conditions contraception hormonal therapies or use psychoactive drugs, its important that your doctor knows about this. Different drugs can interact, changing the way that they work. This may mean that a drug becomes too strong or that a drug becomes too weak, so that it can no longer control your HIV, prevent pregnancy or treat another health condition. Discuss the medication you take with your healthcare workers so they make sure that the combination is safe and will work well for you.
A Little Bit About Hiv Itself
The human immunodeficiency virus was recognized at the end of the 20th century , when at the same time the virus was discovered in two scientific laboratories. One of them was located in France , the other Ã¢ in the USA . A year earlier, his current name was acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , which, as it turned out, is the final phase of HIV infection.
When a new unknown retrovirus was isolated and given the name HTLV-III, it was also suggested that this particular virus could be the cause of such a terrible disease as AIDS. Further studies have confirmed this hypothesis, and humanity has learned of a new danger that can be killed without weapons.
HIV is one of the varieties of viral pathologies, characterized by a sluggish course. The incubation period, lasting from 3 weeks to 3 months, and the latent stage, the duration of which can be 11-12, and sometimes more than years, proceed without any obvious symptoms. However, during this period, almost complete destruction of immunity occurs.
The human immunodeficiency virus itself is considered unstable. It can not exist outside the carrierÃ¢s body , however, in each specific case the virus is somewhat modified, which allows it to survive and excludes the possibility of the invention of an effective antiviral vaccine.
The virus is able to nest in any physiological fluids, including saliva and cerebrospinal fluid, but its concentration there is negligible, as, however, and the risk of infection with their participation.
What Drugs Are In The Hiv Pep
It is usually 3 different medications combined as a single pill, so you get to take one tablet per dose instead of 3 tablets.
In babies of HIV positive mothers, the drops or syrup formulation of the drug is prescribed. The dose is calculated using the weight of the child at the time it is prepared.
There are side effects of PEP drugs which are well known and others that are rare. The benefit of taking the drug to avoid being infected outweighs the risk of the few side effects that may arise. The ethical principle of doing no harm is put into consideration here.
The drug is to be taken for 28 consecutive days after which another HIV test is done. A repeat HIV test is recommended to be done 12 weeks after the exposure which is 8 weeks after completing the PEP drug. This is because that is how long it takes for antibodies to be formed after an infection and it is antibodies that the HIV test detects.
You will be counselled again when you return to do the test after 12 weeks have elapsed. This is called voluntary counselling and testing. The counselling session prepares your mind to know the next steps to take depending on the test result.
Post-exposure prophylaxis drugs are available to be obtained free of charge in heart-to heart centres of government-owned health institutions in the country. Prevention is better and cheaper than cure.
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The Ryan White Hiv/aids Program
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS program has been helping people with lower incomes managing HIV get access to care since 1990.
The program is overseen and managed by the Health Resources and Services Administration . It works with states, cities, and community organizations around the country to provide HIV treatment and services.
Those who join this program are assigned a case manager. They will figure out exactly what services someone is eligible for and how to access them.
Some eligible services through this program include:
- primary care
For someone to be eligible for the Ryan White HIV/AIDs program, theyll need to have:
- an HIV or AIDS diagnosis
- an income that falls within the states low-income guidelines
- no health insurance coverage or health insurance coverage that wont pay for HIV/AIDS care
The income limits for the program depend on the state. If someone is eligible, their income might qualify them for completely free access to services or access to services with a small copayment.
The case manager will explain exactly what someone qualifies for and if there will be any costs for the services.
You can get use this location map to find a Ryan White program clinic near you.
How Does Hiv Treatment And An Undetectable Viral Load Work To Prevent Hiv Transmission
HIV treatment, also called antiretroviral therapy , works by controlling the replication of HIV in the body that is, it reduces HIVs ability to make copies of itself. When HIV replication is controlled, the amount of virus in the blood and other bodily fluids decreases. Research tells us that as the amount of virus in the body decreases, so does the risk of HIV transmission. When successful treatment lowers the viral load to undetectable levels, this can reduce or even eliminate the risk of HIV transmission.
HIV treatment usually consists of a combination of three antiretroviral drugs taken daily. Newer HIV treatments are safer, simpler and more effective than when treatment was first introduced. The power of treatment today is so profound that many people who start effective treatment soon after becoming HIV positive will have a near-normal lifespan.
For most people the virus becomes so well controlled that within three to six months of starting treatment the amount of virus in their blood becomes undetectable by routinely used tests. Most viral load tests used in Canada cannot detect HIV in the blood if there are fewer than 40 to 50 copies/ml of the virus but some newer tests can detect as few as 20 copies/ml. The virus is still present in very low amounts in the body when the viral load is undetectable.
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Types Of Hiv Treatment
Over 25 anti-HIV drugs are now available, divided into six classes of drugs. Each class works against HIV in a particular way. The vast majority of people with HIV are put on a fixed dose combination pill.
Guidelines recommend several combinations, each best suited to specific health needs and lifestyle. The most important part of treatment is to take all your drugs in the right way at the right time, which is known as adherence.
The classes of anti-HIV drugs are:
- Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors .
- Nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors .
- Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors .
- Protease inhibitors .
What Is The Most Important Information I Should Know About Truvada For Prep
Before and while taking TRUVADA for PrEP:
- You must be HIV negative before you start and while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Do not take TRUVADA to reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 unless you are confirmed to be HIV negative.
- Get tested for HIV-1 immediately before and at least every 3 months while taking TRUVADA.
- If you think you were exposed to HIV-1, tell your healthcare provider right away. They may do more tests to confirm that you are still HIV negative.
TRUVADA can cause serious side effects:
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How Do You Deal With Side Effects
Some side effects can be hard to deal with. One way to cope with them is to know what to watch out for and have a plan to deal with problems that come up.
That’s why you need to talk to your provider about the risk of side effects from different drugs, before you start therapy.
At the beginning of any treatment, you go through a period of adjustment–a time when your body has to get used to the new drugs you’re taking. Sometimes you’ll have headaches, an upset stomach, fatigue, or aches and pains. These side effects may go away after a few days or a few weeks.
If you notice any unusual or severe reactions after starting or changing a drug, report the side effects to your provider immediately.
More information is available in the Side Effects Guide.
If You Have Further Questions Contact Your Ob
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Copyright 2021 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. Read copyright and permissions information.
This information is designed as an educational aid for the public. It offers current information and opinions related to women’s health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care. It does not explain all of the proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for the advice of a physician. Read ACOGs complete disclaimer.
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What Is Truvada For Prep
TRUVADA for PrEP is a once-daily prescription medicine for adults and adolescents at risk of HIV who weigh at least 77 pounds. It helps lower the chance of getting HIV through sex. You must be HIV negative before and while taking TRUVADA for PrEP.
To help determine if TRUVADA for PrEP may be an option for you, talk openly with your healthcare provider about your risk for HIV-1.
Where To Find Other Types Of Hiv Support
Those with HIV might be looking for support that goes beyond paying for care. Financial support is vital, but its not the only care available.
Support groups, mental health resources, health management apps, and dating apps, can also make a huge impact. They can help remind those with HIV that theyre not in this alone and provide the emotional and social support needed when managing HIV.
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Symptoms Of Hiv Infection
Some people may not develop any symptoms after contracting HIV and could remain undiagnosed until the symptoms of AIDS appear. This could be up to 10 years later.
However, 50% or more of people living with HIV may develop mild flu-like symptoms within 2 to 4 weeks. Early symptoms may include:
- muscle aches
- swollen glands
The symptoms of HIV infection may last from a few days to weeks. They may go away on their own.
Misdiagnosis of early HIV infection is common. If you think you have HIV, speak with your health care provider about being tested.
What If I Have Another Illness Or A Co
In these situations your doctor may need to tailor your antiretroviral treatment or treat your other condition before starting your HIV treatment. This will be explained to you by the clinicians looking after you.
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The Infectious Myth Busted Part : Hiv Transmission Rare Or Non
For those who believe HIV is a highly infectious virus, theyve probably never seen Nancy Padians 1996 study which followed 176 discordant couples for 10 years. These couples regularly slept together and had unprotected sex. There were no HIV transmissions from the positive partner to the negative partner during the entirety of the study. A few revealing highlights:
Heterosexual Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus in Northern California: Results from a Ten-year Study
Over time, the authors observed increased condom use and no new infections.
We followed 175 HIV-discordant couples over time, for a total of approximately 282 couple-years offollow-up . Because of deaths as well as the break-up of couples, attrition was severe only 175 couples are represented in table 3. The longest duration of follow-up was 12 visits . We observed no seroconversions after entry into the study.
At last follow-up, couples were much more likely to be abstinent or to use condoms consistently, and were much less likely to practice anal intercourse . Nevertheless, only 75 percent reported consistent condomuse in the 6 months prior to their final follow-up visit. Forty-seven couples who remained in follow-up for 3 months to 6 years used condoms intermittently, and no seroconversions occurred among exposed partners.
Not so, according to the trustworthy people at the CDC. Keep in mind, these are their best case numbers/estimates:
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Whats The Treatment For Hiv
Theres no cure for HIV, but there are treatments that help people with HIV live long, healthy lives. Antiretroviral therapy is a combination of medicines that slows down the effects of HIV in your body and can help you stay healthy for many years. It can also lower or even stop your chances of giving HIV to anyone else.
ART lowers the amount of HIV in your body sometimes to the point where HIV wont show up on standard blood tests. If your HIV viral load is so low that certain tests cant see it, its called undetectable. When someone has an undetectable viral load, they cant spread HIV to others during sex.
Its important to remember that even with an undetectable viral load, HIV is still present in your body. If you stop treatment your viral load can go up, making it possible to pass HIV to others you have sex with. Your doctor or nurse can help you find the treatment thats best for you to help keep your viral load low, so you can stay healthy.
Paying attention to your lifestyle can help you stay healthy too. This means eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, learning how to deal with stress, and avoiding alcohol, smoking, and drugs.
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Which Drugs Should You Take
Now that you have learned a little about the types of drugs that are available and how they work, you may be wondering how your provider will know which treatment you should take.
HIV drugs are used in combination with one another in order to get the best results. The goal is to get the viral load as low as possible for as long as possible.
HIV drugs do different things to the virus–they attack it in different ways–so using combinations works better than using just one by itself. Combinations usually include three antiretroviral drugs. Except in very special circumstances, anti-HIV drugs should never be used one or two at a time. Using only one or two drugs at a time can fail to control the viral load and let the virus adapt to the drug. Once the virus adapts to a drug, the drug won’t work as well against the virus, and maybe it won’t work at all.
There is no one combination of HIV drugs that works best for everyone. Each combination has its pluses and minuses.
So, how will your provider know which combination to choose? You and your provider can consider the options, keeping certain things in mind, such as possible side effects, the number of pills you’ll need to take, and how the drugs interact with each other and with other medications you may take.
Print out these questions to ask your health care provider so that you will be ready to discuss combination therapy.
Aids Drug Assistance Program
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program includes the AIDS Drug Assistance Program , which is funded by the federal government to help pay for HIV drugs for people who might not be able to afford them otherwise. This fund may even be used to pay for health insurance premiums for eligible clients in some cases.
Each US state provides its own coverage, and your local ADAP office can let you know which drugs it pays for and what the income limits are for your state. If you become part of the ADAP program, you will need to recertify every six months. Your local ADAP office can support you in this process as well.
In the past, some states have had a waiting list for ADAP. In other states, the ADAP program is big enough to cover not only HIV drugs, but also laboratory work, some medical care, and non-HIV medications, like those used to manage side effects and other chronic diseases.
The Ryan White program can also pay for doctor visits and support services for people living with HIV. In some instances, family members who are not living with HIV can receive support through a Ryan White program for women and/or children living with HIV. To find out more about the Ryan White program in your state, call your state’s HIV/AIDS hotline.
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How Does Antiretroviral Treatment Work
Without treatment HIV attacks the immune system – the part of your body that protects you from other infections. If people living with HIV dont take treatment they become more vulnerable to other illnesses.
ART stops HIV from making copies of itself. This keeps the amount of virus in your body low, protecting your immune system so youre less likely to get sick.
With good healthcare and treatment, people with HIV can expect to live as long as people who dont have HIV. You can continue to have relationships, to work or study, to make plans, to have a family whatever you would have done before your HIV diagnosis.
By keeping the amount of HIV in your body low, ART also reduces the risk of HIV being passed on. People living with HIV who take their treatment properly can achieve something called an undetectable viral load. This is when the amount of HIV in their body has been reduced to such low levels that it cant be passed on through sex. To know if you have an undetectable viral load, its important to attend regular appointments with your healthcare team to have your viral load measured this can tell you how effective your treatment is and how much HIV there is in your body.