What Hiv Medicines Are Included In An Hiv Regimen
There are many HIV medicines available for HIV regimens. The HIV medicines are grouped into seven;drug classes;according to how they fight HIV.
The choice of an HIV regimen depends on a person’s individual needs. When choosing an HIV regimen, people with HIV and their health care providers consider many factors, including possible side effects of HIV medicines and potential drug interactions.
Managing Stress And Getting Support
Looking after your mental wellbeing and emotional health is just as important as taking care of your body.
Finding out you have HIV;can be a shock, and it may take you some time to adjust. Talking to your friends and family, and other people living with HIV, can really help when things get difficult. You could look for a peer mentoring or buddying service in your area.
Once you adjust to living with HIV, its a good idea to think about what you want out of life. What are your goals? Whats important to you? Maybe you want to study, travel,;have a family or change career? Dont let HIV stop you, theres no reason why it should.
Treatment Of Acute Hiv Infection
Patients identified during acute primary HIV infection should be treated with combination antiretroviral therapy to suppress viral replication to levels below the limit of detection on plasma HIV-1 RNA assays.1,23 Although opponents of this recommendation argue for conservative management,21 compelling arguments for early aggressive therapy have been presented.22
Patients who present with symptomatic acute HIV syndrome have a poorer prognosis than those with asymptomatic primary HIV infection.24 Early treatment may preserve immune system function by blunting the high level of HIV replication and reducing damage to the immune system during this period. Thus, early treatment has the potential to decrease the set point , reduce the viral mutation rate and decrease the risk of HIV transmission.1 The current recommendation is to use, for an indefinite duration, combination antiretroviral therapy with at least three drugs to which the patient has never been exposed.
In most untreated patients, set-point plasma HIV-1 RNA levels stabilize between 1,000 and 10,000 copies per mL for a number of years. In the advanced stages of AIDS, HIV-1 RNA levels exceed 1 million copies per mL. In the absence of treatment, the apparent nonprogessor with an HIV-1 RNA level of less than 400 copies per mL is rare. Nonprogression is the state hopefully achievable with early aggressive therapy.1
A nonthymidine NRTI such as didanosine , lamivudine or zalcitabine .
Don’t Miss: Can You Catch Hiv From Oral
Early Use Of Marijuana In Hiv
From the early-1980s to the mid-1990s, HIV was a major contributor to death and illness in the United States. Early generation HIV drugs were prone not only to premature failure, they often came with serious and sometimes;debilitating side effects.
Moreover, people living with the disease were at high risk of illnesses we dont see as frequently these days, including Kaposis sarcoma , AIDS dementia, and the aforementioned HIV wasting syndrome.
It was, in fact, this last condition which;first spurred support for the use of medical marijuana. Doctors, who at the time had few options for treatment, surmised that marijuanas appetite-stimulating properties could benefit those experiencing the profound, unexplained weight loss as a result of this still-mysterious condition.
Since laws in the mid-80s to early-90s forbade the use of marijuana in clinical settings, doctors began to prescribe the Schedule III drug;, which contains a synthetic form of tetrahydrocannabinol , the active ingredient of cannabis.
While Marinol proved to be successful in alleviating many of the symptoms of HIV wasting, many still preferred the instant hit afforded from three to four puffs of a marijuana cigarette.
Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
These drugs interrupt the virus from duplicating, which may slow the spread of HIV in the body. They include:
Combinations of NRTIs make it possible to take lower doses and maintain effectiveness. These drugs include Combivir , Trizivir , Epzicom and Truvada . We expect more combination drugs to be available in the future.
Recommended Reading: What Does The Hiv Virus Look Like
Medical Care And Case Management
- Expert management of HIV Infection and complications related to AIDS
- Primary medical care
- Coordination with your physician and medical case management
- Specialty referrals
- Mental health counseling
- Harm reduction/Safer sex education
- Risk-reduction counseling and education: Includes assistance with substance use, disclosure, interpersonal concerns, and other risk behaviors
- Tobacco cessation counseling
- Nutritional assessments, counseling, and assistance
- Support group for gay and bisexual men living with HIV
What If I Have Another Illness Or A Co
You may have a co-infection or another illness such as cardiovascular disease, HIV-related cancer, chronic kidney disease or HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment.
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.
You May Like: What Is Anti Hiv Test
Does Art Cause Side Effects
Like most medicines, antiretroviral therapy can cause side effects. However, not everyone experiences side effects from ART. The HIV medications used today have fewer side effects, fewer people experience them, and they are less severe than in the past. Side effects can differ for each type of ART medicine and from person to person. Some side effects can occur once you start a medicine and may only last a few days or weeks. Other side effects can start later and last longer.
If you experience side effects that are severe or make you want to stop taking your HIV medication, talk to your health care provider or pharmacist before you miss any doses or stop taking the medication. Skipping doses or starting and stopping medication can lead to drug resistance, which can harm your health and limit your future treatment options.
Some side effects of ART that are most commonly reported include:
- Nausea and vomiting,
Diagnosing Acute Hiv Infection
Blood taken during the acute phase of HIV infection may show lymphopenia and thrombocytopenia, but atypical lymphocytes are infrequent. The CD4 count usually remains normal. The HIV-1 antibody tests , the only tests officially used to diagnose established HIV infection, do not become positive until three or four weeks after the infection is acquired.
On the other hand, the quantitative plasma HIV-1 RNA level by polymerase chain reaction , which is 95 to 98 percent sensitive for HIV,8 becomes positive within 11 days of infection.9 During the symptomatic phase of acute HIV infection, the viral RNA shows in excess of 50,000 copies per mL.3 Three instances of false-positive HIV-1-RNA tests have been reported; in each instance, however, the person was not having symptoms, and the viral load was less than 2,000 copies per mL.10 The presence of high-titer HIV-I RNA in the absence of HIV antibodies establishes the diagnosis of acute HIV infection.3,11
HIV-1 antibody and viral load tests are readily available through commercial laboratories and should be performed whenever a patient presents with signs and symptoms of acute HIV syndrome and a history that is compatible with HIV infection. If viral RNA quantitation is not available, a serum or plasma p24 antigen test may be used to detect viral infection before the appearance of HIV antibodies.
Don’t Miss: How Many People Die From Hiv Each Year
How Do Hiv Medicines Work
HIV attacks and destroys the infection-fighting CD4 cells of the immune system. Loss of CD4 cells makes it hard for the body to fight off infections and certain HIV-related cancers.
HIV medicines prevent HIV from multiplying , which reduces the amount of HIV in the body . Having less HIV in the body gives the immune system a chance to recover and produce more CD4 cells. Even though there is still some HIV in the body, the immune system is strong enough to fight off infections and certain HIV-related;cancers.
By reducing the amount of HIV in the body, HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission. A main goal of HIV treatment is to reduce a persons viral load to an undetectable level. An undetectable viral load means that the level of HIV in the blood is too low to be detected by a viral load test. People with HIV who maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners through sex.
Medical Marijuana For Aids Wasting Syndrome
Wasting Syndrome is defined by the CDCP as a sudden, involuntary loss of ten percent or more of body weight. This dramatic weight loss is often accompanied by chronic diarrhea.
This extreme weight loss due to nausea and diarrhea can be a life-threatening issue for many AIDS patients. If a patient loses even five percent of their body weight, the consequences can be deadly.
Wasting syndrome manifests in HIV patients via two physiological processes known as cachexia and starvation. Cachexia results in a huge loss of muscle or liver mass and tissue injury.
Starvation can be resolved by upping calorie intake. Cachexia requires the disease to be properly regulated and controlled, by stimulating the patients metabolism.
Two clinical studies report that patients who were given Marinol maintained a stable weight and experienced improved appetite. A preliminary study reported that after taking Marinol, five participants gained, on average, one percent body fat.
However, many of Floridas HIV patients still prefer old-school smoking rather than Marinol to cope with wasting syndrome and to increase their appetites. Inhalation of cannabis allows more control over intake and the effects are almost instantaneous. Patients also claimed, the munchies are more likely to occur with smoking marijuana, effectively upping their caloric intake.
Don’t Miss: Does Cookie Johnson Have Hiv
Avoid Excessive Alcohol Or Drug Use
If you are living with HIV, there are specific risks associated with alcohol and recreational drug use that you should be aware of. Alcohol can damage the liver which the body uses to process anti-HIV drugs, so it is good to keep your alcohol consumption within the recommended limits. Heavy drinking and taking recreational drugs can also weaken your immune system, making it harder for your body to recover from infections.
Certain anti-HIV drugs can interact with recreational drugs and alcohol to cause unwanted side effects, some of which can be severe. For example, you could feel dizzy or pass out, making you potentially vulnerable. If you are worried about drug interactions, have an honest conversation with a healthcare professional and they will be able to advise you. You should also be aware that being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs may stop you taking your HIV medication properly, for example, you may forget to take a dose or too much alcohol may make you vomit. If you are sick within one hour of taking your HIV medication you should retake the dose.
If youre concerned about your;alcohol or drug use, talk to a healthcare professional for advice and support.
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 .
Also Check: How Do Anti Hiv Drugs Work
Medical Marijuana For Nausea And Vomiting
The use of combination HIV therapy has successfully removed the terminal status for most HIV patients, transforming it into a survivable chronic condition. These medications ensure that most HIV patients can now live somewhat normal lifestyles. However, many of these drugs come with extremely unpleasant side effects.;
Life-sustaining medications such as Crixivan, drT, AZT, Viracept, Bactrim, Viramune, and Megace are the only viable options for most HIV patients. However, they often trigger bouts of diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting, and appetite loss. Medical marijuana is widely known to successfully attenuate all of these pervasive issues for some patients.
Findings published in a report titled The role of cannabinoids in the regulation of nausea and vomiting, and visceral pain, explain how the bodys natural cannabinoid receptors regulate nausea, vomiting, and food intake. Cannabinoid receptors are present throughout the brain and gastrointestinal tract and are stimulated by chemical compounds produced by our bodies called endocannabinoids.;
Two endocannabinoids that are highly engaged in this process are anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, also known as 2-AG. Suppression of these particular endocannabinoids greatly increases the incidence of vomiting and nausea, while enhancement of the same compounds is shown to mitigate these symptoms.
Putting The Social Back In Biopsychosocial
The well-being of HIV-positive individuals is incumbent on the strength of interlocking webs of physical, emotional, and social support. A patient who lacks stable housing will almost certainly experience depression related to the stress of homelessness, and will probably have difficulty with medication adherence. A patient living in a rural area with limited employment prospects may remain reliant on family members who treat them poorly, increasing their mental health issues.
For this reason, Bloom stresses the importance of monthly care coordination meetings, in which physicians, lawyers, social workers, therapists, and other concerned parties can work together to support patients with medically and socially complex lives.
Together with a committed care team, patients can identify what puzzle pieces are missing that keeps them from living their fullest, healthiest life. As a Community Health Worker for the DC-based harm reduction organization, HIPS, Randy Kier explains, any consumers tell me that all they want is someone to listen to them, or talk to. A community health worker listens to the consumer and finds the motivation to move forward with life.
In these situations, mental health professionals are a support pillar in their patients social world, as well as a sounding board for their healing process. Simply providing a compassionate listening ear can be as valuable as any research-validated structured intervention.
Recommended Reading: Can Hiv Spread Through Oral
How Hiv Treatment Works
HIV treatment does not cure HIV, but it stops the virus from reproducing in your body. It can reduce the amount of virus in the blood to undetectable levels, meaning that you cannot pass on HIV.
Treatment with anti-HIV drugs is sometimes called combination therapy because people usually take three different drugs at the same time ;often combined into one tablet.
It’s also known as antiretroviral therapy , or highly active antiretroviral therapy – HAART for short.
Cannabis Helps Hiv/aids Patients
- Medical marijuana programs are; proving to be a godsend for many of states HIV/AIDS patients.
- How medical marijuana helps to relieve the symptoms of the disease as well as the side effects of prescription medications that are keeping HIV patients alive.
- How to get a medical marijuana card in for HIV/AIDS.
Don’t Miss: How Does Hiv Aids Spread
What Is Involved In The Consistent And Correct Use Of Hiv Treatment To Maintain An Undetectable Viral Load For Hiv Prevention
The consistent and correct use of HIV treatment to maintain an undetectable viral load includes:
- high adherence to medications, to achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load
- regular medical appointments to monitor viral load and receive adherence support, if needed
Regular testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections is also important because HIV treatment does not protect against STIs.
A person on HIV treatment needs to work with their doctor to determine an appropriate schedule for medical checkups and viral load monitoring.
Diagnosis: Then And Now
When Donald Hughes, a hairdresser and community activist living with HIV, got his diagnosis, it was 1986. Access to antiretroviral therapy was still a few years off, and Hughes felt there was no way out.
A year after his diagnosis, Hughes began his journey to sobriety and recovery. He started attending support groups, many of which looked to alternative medicine approaches for treating his HIV, such as taking Echinacea supplements and drinking aloe vera juice, and some of his colleagues even underwent urine therapy. Throughout his experience, there was a strong undercurrent of fear, isolation, and loneliness. I kept looking around in support group meetings, thinking, its about time I got sick, Hughes said.
An HIV diagnosis in the late 1980s was full of unknowns that taxed a persons mental health. No one knew how long they would stay healthy. People hid their diagnosis from insurance companies, afraid that they would lose coverage. As a hairstylist, Hughes was often called into the hospital to do haircuts for individuals in hospice care or who were homebound. He found himself personally cleaning and caring for HIV-positive patients because they were neglected by hospital support staff.
Many HIV-positive individuals also struggle to access supplementary services they need to live healthy lives, such as Ryan White funding for their medications, housing assistance, or drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
Read Also: Which Body Fluids Transmit Hiv
Side Effects And Costs
Side effects of antiretroviral therapy vary and may include nausea, headache, and dizziness. These symptoms are often temporary and disappear with time.
Serious side effects can include swelling of the mouth and tongue and liver or kidney damage. If side effects are severe, the medications can be adjusted.
Costs for antiretroviral therapy vary according to geographic location and type of insurance coverage. Some pharmaceutical companies have assistance programs to help lower the cost.
Although many researchers are working to develop one, theres currently no vaccine available to prevent the transmission of HIV. However, taking certain steps can help prevent the transmission of HIV.
When Should You Start Hiv Treatment
Treatment guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that a person living with HIV begin ART as soon as possible after diagnosis. Starting ART slows the progression of HIV and can keep you healthy for many years.
If you delay treatment, the virus will continue to harm your immune system and put you at higher risk for developing opportunistic infections that can be life threatening.
Read Also: How To Test For Hiv At Home