Getting Support With Starting Treatment
Its important that you feel ready to start ART and understand how to take it properly. Current HIV treatment has to be taken every day for the rest of your life. You might feel good about starting HIV treatment, because it is something you can do to stay healthy and strong. But it is also normal to feel worried about it, or to have questions.
In addition to talking to your doctor, you may find it helpful to talk to someone who has experience of taking HIV treatment. Many clinics have peer mentors, who can offer support and information, or can put you in touch with community organisations and peer support groups.
Should You Ever Take A ‘holiday’ From The Drugs
Taking a “drug holiday” from your HIV treatments for reasons other than a severe reaction to medications may be harmful to your health. Having said that, your provider may suggest that you temporarily stop your antiretroviral drugs for certain specific reasons. Be sure to talk with your provider about this issue if you have questions about it. How you stop taking your HIV drugs safely can be a complicated process.
Remember, just skipping doses without your provider’s instruction is dangerous you should never change your treatment plan without talking with your provider.
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.
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Important Questions To Ask Your Doctor
Ask your doctor to tell you what you should know about your HIV medicines.
- What medicines am I taking to treat HIV?
- When should I take each medicine?
- Should I take my medicines with food?
- Which prescription medicines, herbs , over-the-counter medicines , or vitamins can affect my HIV medicines? Can my HIV medicines affect any of the other medicines I take?
- How should I store my HIV medicines? What about when I am away from home or go out of town?
- What are the side effects of the medicines I am taking?
- What should I do if I start having bad side effects?
What Is The Best Hiv Treatment To Start With
The drugs used to treat HIV are called antiretroviral drugs . There are several different types and they work in different ways. HIV treatment is made up of three or more antiretroviral drugs normally combined into one pill.
There are lots of antiretroviral drugs, and they can be combined in different ways. The World Health Organization recommends that adults and adolescents starting HIV treatment take a combination of HIV drugs with dolutegravir as one of the main components. Your healthcare worker will help you to find the best treatment for you.
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The Global Hiv/aids Epidemic
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is one of the worlds most serious public health challenges. But there is a global commitment to stopping new HIV infections and ensuring that everyone with HIV has access to HIV treatment.
According to UNAIDS:
Number of People with HIVThere were approximately 37.6 million people across the globe with HIV in 2020. Of these, 35.9 million were adults and 1.7 million were children .
New HIV InfectionsAn estimated 1.5 million individuals worldwide acquired HIV in 2020, marking a 30% decline in new HIV infections since 2010. Of these new HIV infections:
- 1.3 million were among adults
- 160,000 were among children
HIV TestingApproximately 84% of people with HIV globally knew their HIV status in 2020. The remaining 16% still need access to HIV testing services. HIV testing is an essential gateway to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
HIV Treatment AccessAs of the end of 2020, 27.4 million people with HIV were accessing antiretroviral therapy globally. That means 10.2 million people are still waiting. HIV treatment access is key to the global effort to end AIDS as a public health threat. People with HIV who are aware of their status, take ART daily as prescribed, and get and keep an undetectable viral load can live long, healthy lives and have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.
- 84% knew their HIV status
- 73% were accessing ART
- 66% were virally suppressed
If The Viral Load Is Undetectable Can You Stop Treatment
No! Having a viral load below levels that laboratory tests can measure tells us that the HIV drugs are working. An undetectable viral load doesn’t mean the HIV virus is gone from your body, though. Even though the virus is not detected in the blood, it is still present in other parts of your body, such as the lymph nodes, brain, and reproductive organs. If you stop treatment, the virus will start reproducing again and your viral load will increase, putting your health at risk.
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Do All Hiv Medicines Cause The Same Side Effects
Different HIV medicines can cause different side effects. In addition, people taking the same HIV medicine can have different side effects.
Side effects from HIV medicines may last only a few days or weeks. For example, nausea, fatigue, and trouble sleeping are some short-term side effects of HIV medicines.
Other side effects from some HIV medicines can lead to problems that may not appear for months or years after starting a medicine. For example, high cholesterol can be a side effect of some HIV medicines. High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease.
Having another medical condition or taking other medicines can increase the risk of side effects from HIV medicines. Drug interactions between HIV medicines or with other medicines a person is taking can also cause side effects.
Use the ClinicalInfo Drug Database to learn more about your HIV medicines, including possible side effects. For help using the Drug Database, contact an ClinicalInfo health information specialist by phone or email .
Acquired Hiv Drug Resistance
Surveillance of acquired HIV drug resistance in populations receiving ART provides valuable data to inform the optimal selection and management of ART regimens. Among populations failing NNRTIs-based antiretroviral therapy, the levels of resistance to commonly used NNRTIs ranged from 50% to 97% and resistance to most commonly used NRTIs ranged from 21% to 91%.
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What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Biktarvy
- All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or have had any kidney or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection.
- All the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, antacids, laxatives, vitamins, and herbal supplements. BIKTARVY and other medicines may affect each other. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist, and ask if it is safe to take BIKTARVY with all of your other medicines.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if BIKTARVY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking BIKTARVY.
- If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1800FDA1088.
Nucleoside/nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors , and nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors , often all referred to as NRTIs, work by targeting the action of an HIV protein called reverse transcriptase.
After the HIV virus releases its genetic material into a host cell, reverse transcriptase converts the viral RNA into DNA, a process known as reverse transcription. NRTIs disrupt the construction of a new piece of proviral DNA, thereby stopping the reverse transcription process and halting HIV replication.
This class of medications is sometimes referred to as the backbone of a first-line HIV treatment combination. It includes the following drugs:
- Abacavirmay be marketed under the name Ziagen, but generic versions are also available. Abacavir is included in the combination tablets abacavir/lamivudine and Triumeq.
- Tenofovir alafenamide, a newer formulation of tenofovir, is available in the combination tablets Biktarvy, Descovy, Genvoya, Odefsey and Symtuza.
- Zidovudine may be marketed under the name Retrovir, but generic versions are also available. Zidovudine is included in the combination tablet lamivudine/zidovudine.
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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.
Emtricitabine/tenofovir Alafenamide For Pre
Since 2012, the only FDA-approved option for PrEP has been FTC/ TDF.11 This changed in 2019 with the approval of combination emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide ,13 a structurally similar combination medication. It is now indicated for use in PrEP in uninfected patients at high risk for HIV transmission via sexual intercourse. This excludes patients at risk from receptive vaginal intercourse, as this population has not yet been evaluated.
Approval of PrEP is based on the recent DISCOVER trial, a randomized, double-blind study comparing FTC/TAF with standard-of-care FTC/TDF in reducing the risk of acquiring HIV-1 infection in men and transgender women who have sex with men and are at risk of HIV-1 infection.7 The trial was conducted as a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study with a minimum follow-up of 48 weeks, with at least 50% of the participants having 96 weeks of follow-up after randomization. It enrolled 5,399 participants who were randomized 1:1 into either group. The studyâs primary objective was to assess the incidence of HIV-1 infection per 100 person-years. Among the 2,694 participants in the FTC/TAF arm, HIV-1 incidence was seen in 7 patients . Among the 2,693 participants in the FTC/TDF arm, HIV-1 incidence was seen in 15 patients . These incidences demonstrate that FTC/TAF was noninferior to FTC/TDF in study participants who were at risk of acquiring HIV and, ultimately, allowed the FDA to add PrEP to the indications for FTC/TAF.13
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How Do Hiv/aids Medicines Work
HIV/AIDS medicines reduce the amount of HIV in your body, which helps by
- Giving your immune system a chance to recover. Even though there is still some HIV in your body, your immune system should be strong enough to fight off infections and certain HIV-related cancers.
- Reducing the risk that you will spread HIV to others
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,
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The 10 Most Common Side Effects Of Hiv Medication
Turns out, most aren’t as common as you think.
There are actually side effects to almost all new medications, so its not uncommon to feel aches and pains, headaches, stomachaches, or fatigue for a few days . Anything beyond that and you should tell your doctor. One 2008 study showed that 60 percent of people on antiretrovirals had diarrhea, but that was before the Food and Drug Administration approved Fulyzaq, the first antidiarrheal drug for people with HIV.
Side effects to HIV meds used to be brutal if you lived through the last few decades, you probably remember but with newer medications on the market, the majority of people will not experience any serious side effects. If you do, your doctor should help you find a treatment that works for you without them.
AIDS.gov has a list of the most common long-term effects of HIV meds on some users, which include lipodystrophy insulin resistance increases in cholesterol or triglycerides decreases in bone density , and lactic acidosis .
Bottom line: They are rarely severe, but if you have any side effect longer than a few weeks, dont just assume you have to just put up with it ask your doctor about it.
Questions To Ask About Each Drug
One of the most important things you can do to make sure you take your medicine correctly is to talk with your medical provider about your lifestyle, such as your sleeping and eating schedule. If your provider prescribes a drug, be sure and ask the following questions :
- What dose of the drug should be taken? How many pills does this mean?
- How often should the drug be taken?
- Does it matter if it is taken with food, or on an empty stomach?
- Does the drug have to be kept in a refrigerator?
- What are the possible side effects of the drug?
- What should be done to deal with the side effects?
- How severe do side effects have to be before a provider is called?
During every medical visit you should talk about whether you are having trouble staying on your treatment plan. Studies show that people who take their medicine in the right way get the best results: their viral loads stay down, their CD4 counts stay up, and they feel healthier.
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Hiv Treatment Options: An Overview
If you are diagnosed with HIV infection, you will have many questions about treatment options, advantages, and side effects.
Today, it is well-known that early diagnosis, combined with advanced current treatments and regular medical follow-up, can significantly improve the health outcomes of patients living with HIV. In fact, many people with HIV who are treated appropriately, take their medications as directed, and are monitored closely can live close to a normal life-span.
Diagnosis and early treatment is still important even though HIV has become more of a chronic disease for many people. In 2018, the latest year that CDC data is available, the number of new HIV diagnoses in the United States was almost 38,000.
There is no cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS yet, but research has greatly expanded since the 1980s. It’s important to know your status: HIV screening is recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for patients between 13 and 64 years of age at least once in their lifetime. People should be notified that testing will be performed, but should be able to option to decline testing or do at a later date.
What is antiretroviral therapy ?
Antiretroviral drugs slow the growth and replication of HIV. ART works to lower the viral load, which is the amount of HIV in your blood.
How is ART given?
Most treatments for HIV and AIDS are given as a three medication regimen in combination .
Us Response To The Global Epidemic
The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is the U.S. Governments response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and represents the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history. Through PEPFAR, the U.S. has supported a world safer and more secure from infectious disease threats. It has demonstrably strengthened the global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to new and existing riskswhich ultimately enhances global health security and protects Americas borders. Among other global results, PEPFAR provided HIV testing services for nearly 50 million people in Fiscal Year 2020 and, as of September 30, 2020, supported lifesaving ART for nearly 18.2 million men, women, and children.
In addition, the National Institutes of Health represents the largest public investment in HIV/AIDS research in the world. NIH is engaged in research around the globe to understand, diagnose, treat, and prevent HIV infection and its many associated conditions, and to find a cure.
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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.