Changing Treatment Due To Side
Measurement of the amount of virus in a blood sample, reported as number of HIV RNA copies per milliliter of blood plasma. Viral load is an important indicator of HIV progression and of how well treatment is working.
Your doctor can usually do something about side-effects, so it makes good sense to mention any that youre experiencing. If side-effects do persist, changing treatment may be an option. All anti-HIV drugs can cause side-effects, so it is possible that the drug you switch to might involve a risk of side-effects as well.
If your viral load is undetectable and you have no resistance to anti-HIV drugs then you should be able to switch to a different treatment. But dont stop taking your anti-HIV drugs without talking to your doctor.
Bone Loss Or Decrease In Bone Density
Loss of bone density increases the risk of bone injuries and fractures. Bone loss is observed more in the hip and spinal regions.
Bone loss can be a significant issue in older patients who are on ART, where there is already a natural loss of bone density due to age.
Other risk factors that can increase the chances of loss of bone density include: belonging to the female gender, advanced age, alcohol, smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Complications include osteoporosis, osteopenia, and osteonecrosis.
HIV medicines causing loss of bone density
Bone loss is attributed to NRTIs and NNRTIs class of HIV medicines.
How to deal with bone loss due to HIV medication?
- Calcium and vitamin D supplements
- Exercises such as walking and weight lifting
- Healthy diet especially rich in calcium and vitamin D
- Your doctor may prescribe medicines for or to prevent osteoporosis
Can Hiv Medicines Cause Side Effects
HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission. But HIV medicines can sometimes cause side effects. Most side effects from HIV medicines are manageable, but a few can be serious.
Overall, the benefits of HIV medicines far outweigh the risk of side effects. In addition, newer HIV medicines cause fewer side effects than medicines used in the past. As HIV treatment continues to improve, people are less likely to have side effects from HIV medicines.
Before starting HIV medicines, people with HIV discuss possible side effects from HIV medicines with their health care providers. They work together to select an HIV regimen based on the persons individual needs.
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This Guide Is One Tool To Healthy Living
Welcome to the second edition of A Practical Guide to HIV Drug Side Effects, published by CATIE .
Thanks to ongoing improvements in HIV treatment, the future for people living with HIV is better than ever before. Many of the problems that were common with the treatments available early in the epidemic have been eliminated or at least minimized.
Despite great improvements in the treatment of HIV, many people living with HIV continue to experience changes and problems in their body as a result of the drugs they are taking to treat HIV and, in some cases, as a result of the virus itself. The changes and problems caused by medicines are called drug side effects, and they can range from mild to annoying to life-threatening.
As you will see in the sections of this guide, there are many possible HIV drug side effects, and many possible ways to resolve them. We hope to help you understand more about the various types of drug side effects: what each drug side effect looks or feels like, what could be causing it and how the side effect may be managed. Some of the treatments suggested in this guide will be ones that you will need to access through your doctor or other healthcare provider. In other cases, this guide will suggest over-the-counter remedies and things you can do to help yourself.
Does Prep Have Risks
People with HIV have used Truvada, tenofovir and emtricitabine, for several years. They are generally easy to take. Possible long-term side effects include loss of bone mineral density and kidney damage.
Some people worry that people taking PrEP might think they are totally protected. They might be less careful about their sexual behavior. So far, this does not appear to be true.
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Taking Care Of Yourself
HIV drugs help many people live longer, healthier lives. Side effects are an important factor in determining whether someone takes their HIV drugs as prescribed. While the term ‘side effects’ may make them sound like they are not a big problem, if they are getting in the way of your taking your HIV drugs, they may get in the way of your good health. If you are having trouble sticking to your HIV drug regimen because of problems with side effects, speak to your health care provider before skipping, reducing, or stopping your drugs. There is usually something that can be done about it, such as changing the dose of that drug, switching to another drug, or finding ways to treat or manage the side effect directly.
The Foundations For Health
Speaking of things you can do to help yourself, there are a number of practices for healthy living that lay the foundation for living well with HIV, regardless of the treatments you take or the side effects they can cause.
First of all, a trusting and honest relationship with your doctor is very important for your overall health. Two of the most significant decisions you and your doctor will make together concern when you go on antiretroviral therapy and what combination of drugs you decide to take.
Antiretroviral therapy helps to slow the bodys production of HIV and is responsible for changing HIV from a disease that was once fatal to a chronic, manageable illness. If your doctor prescribes antiretroviral drugs for you, be sure to take the medications exactly as directed, every day. Missing doses increases the chance the drugs will no longer work to control HIV as the virus becomes resistant to them.
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet consisting of lean proteins, whole grains and colourful fruits and vegetables provides your body with the nutrients it needs to function best. Consider supplementing your diet with vitamins and other nutrients. Youll find lots of information about supplementation in the sections of this guide.
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Nukes Nucleoside Or Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
When the virus enters your immune cells, it makes copies of its own DNA. This DNA tricks your cells into making more copies of the virus, which go on to infect more of your cells. NRTIs stop the virus from taking the first step of copying its DNA.
The first treatment the physician prescribed Traylor was a combination of multiple NRTIs. She had been pregnant when she was diagnosed, so it wasnt clear right away if her nausea and fatigue were due to pregnancy or the medication. After she gave birth, her symptoms continued, and she says, I begged to take me off of it.
Drugs in This Class:
- Blood problems like anemia, which causes fatigue or decreases in white or red blood cells
- Lactic acidosis, a dangerous buildup of lactic acid
- Nerve problems
- Thinning bones
What you can do:
A multivitamin with iron can reduce your risk of anemia, but other blood issues may require prescription medications. A variety oflifestyle changes and supplements, ranging from guided meditations to taking melatonin, may help you sleep.
Another condition, lactic acidosis can be life-threatening. If you experience an upset stomach and vomiting, extreme exhaustion or unusual shortness of breath, see a doctor right away.
What Should I Do If I Notice Side Effects
It is important to take your medicine every day. If you are having a hard time doing this, let your doctor know. If you are worried about a side effect, keep taking your medicine until you discuss your concern with your doctor. Eat a healthy diet, exercise, and take a multivitamin every day.
If you have diabetes or cholesterol problems, talk to your doctor about whether you should make any changes in your diet. Your doctor will also give you medicine for these conditions. Tell your doctor at each visit all of the medicines you are taking, including herbal medicines.
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How Is Hiv Transmitted
HIV is not passed on easily from one person to another. The virus does not spread through the air like cold and flu viruses.
HIV lives in the blood and in some body fluids. To get HIV, one of these fluids from someone with HIV has to get into your blood.
The body fluids that contain enough HIV to infect someone are:
- people who have had unprotected sex with somebody who has injected drugs
- people who have caught another sexually transmitted infection
- people who have received a blood transfusion while in Africa, eastern Europe, the countries of the former Soviet Union, Asia or central and southern America
Effects On The Immune System
HIV primarily affects the body by targeting and damaging cells in the immune system. The immune system protects the body against viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
After attaching itself to a type of white blood cell called a CD4 T cell, the virus merges with it. These T cells are an important part of the immune system.
Once inside the CD4 T cell, the virus multiplies. It damages or destroys the cell, then moves on and targets other cells.
A persons CD4 T-cell count is an indication of the health of their immune system.
A healthy CD4 T-cell count is 5001,600 cells/mm3 of blood. If a person does not receive treatment for HIV, their CD4 T-cell count drops over time.
When it drops below 200 cells/mm3, the persons immune system is significantly impaired, making them more susceptible to opportunistic infections.
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Switching Antiretroviral Drugs Due To Adverse Effects
Some patients experience treatment-limiting toxicities associated with ART. In these cases, ART must be modified. ART-associated adverse events can range from acute and potentially life-threatening to chronic and insidious. Serious life-threatening events require the immediate discontinuation of all ARV drugs and re-initiation of an alternative regimen without overlapping toxicity. Toxicities that are not life-threatening can usually be managed by substituting another ARV agent for the presumed causative agent without interrupting ART. Other chronic, nonlife-threatening adverse events can be addressed either by switching the potentially causative agent for another agent or by managing the adverse event with pharmacological or nonpharmacological interventions. Management strategies must be individualized for each patient.
Table 21 lists several major ART-associated adverse events and the options for appropriate switches between agents in an ARV regimen. The table focuses on the ARVs most commonly used in the United States and lists substitutions that are supported by ARV switch studies, the findings of comparative ARV trials and observational cohort studies, or expert opinion. Switching agents in an effective ARV regimen should be done carefully and only when the potential benefits of the change outweigh the potential risks of altering treatment.
How Does Hiv Affect Women Differently
HIV may cause some health problems that are unique to women, such as:
- Gynecological health issues
- Increased risk of cervical cancer
- Increased risk of heart disease
- HIV medicine side effects and drug interactions
- Aging-related issues
Pregnancy and birth control also require careful management with a health care provider.
The good news is that women who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load can stay healthy and have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
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Who Should Use Prep
- PrEP should be used by people who are at high risk of becoming infected with HIV by sexual activity
- PrEP should be part of an overall HIV prevention program including condoms and counseling
- Before taking PrEP, people should be tested to confirm that they are not already infected with HIV
- People using PrEP should continue to be tested to make sure they have not been infected
- They should also be tested for kidney damage, hepatitis B and any sexually transmitted diseases
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 .
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Side Effects Of Hiv Antiretroviral Drugs And How To Manage Them
The aim of the medications given in the treatment of HIV and AIDS is mainly to treat the HIV disease. The second priority is to keep the person comfortable not just physically, but also psychologically.
Psychological comfort is given by counseling and physical comfort is given by ART drugs with the least negative side effects.
All HIV/AIDS drugs exhibit side effects. They can be short-term or long-term they can be mild or severe. Management can be done and is often done, effectively.
There are now more than 20 anti-HIV drugs available, and your doctor can often change to a drug that doesnt cause the side-effect.
Most side effects are physical, but some anti-HIV drugs can affect your emotional and mental health.
Side effects of HIV/AIDS medication, whether short-term or long-term, if any, should be dealt with by the treating doctor.
Each drug of each class of antiretroviral therapy has different side effects and rarely they can be serious.
They have to be closely monitored by yourself and your physician. Nothing would please the patient more than to have the least physical discomfort while having to live with a mental state of despair. These patients are in a constant fear of death due to their HIV infection.
It is important for an HIV patient to discuss his/her medical history with the doctor including the taking of over the counter medications.
Hiv Pre Exposure Prophylaxis
If you think you may come into contact with HIV, taking anti-HIV medication beforehand will stop you becoming infected.
For it to be effective¸ the medication, called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, can be taken in 2 ways:
- taken regularly
- taken when you know in advance that you’ll be having sex
This second method of taking the medication only when needed means taking two tablets 24 hours before sex, one tablet 24 hours after sex and another tablet 48 hours after sex.
If you take PrEP as recommended, it will protect you from HIV. If you take it incorrectly it may not work.
Although PrEP is effective in protecting you from HIV, it will not protect you from other STI’s like condoms would. If you’re taking PrEP via NHS Scotland, you need to have an HIV and STI test every three months.
You can ask about whether PrEP is right for you at sexual health clinics.
Want to know more?
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Bad Side Effects From Prep Pills What Should You Do
PrEP medicines could be mild or severe, depending on the physiology of the user. A greater number of individuals who experience severe side effects tend to discontinue the treatment completely.
However, if one observes severe side effects, it is best to seek expert advice from medical professionals before attempting self-medication or taking actions of any sort. A professional health provider would not only help to pinpoint the exact problem but equally offer consultation services on whether you need to stop the medications or not.
If you are looking to get more information about PrEP such as its effectiveness, where to get it, user experiences, or have access to frequently asked questions and answers, you can visit HIVPrEP.
Mild Side Effects Of Hiv Treatment
When starting HIV treatment, there may be some milder side effects that can last a couple of weeks and then resolve as your body adjusts to the medication. You can manage these short-term side effects with a few self-care steps:
- Fatigue. Try to schedule extra rest, and if needed when fatigue sets in, temporarily scale back on strenuous workouts.
- Nausea. Eating smaller meals and limiting spicy foods may help. Try to avoid being around overpowering cooking aromas.
- Diarrhea. Be sure to drink plenty of water and other healthy beverages to replace lost fluids. Try cutting back on raw foods and whole grains as well as spicy dishes. Focus on bland food until you feel better.
- Rash. Skip scented body products and try to wear only natural, soft fibers like cotton and linen.
Other temporary side effects may include headache, fever, muscle pain, and dizziness. Ask your doctor if over-the-counter pain relievers are safe to take to help relieve these minor side effects.
However, be aware that sometimes side effects that seem mild like a rash, fever, or nausea may be a sign of a more serious medical problem that needs treatment. When starting a new HIV medication, be sure to ask your doctor how long you should wait for mild side effects to subside before seeking medical attention.
Also note that any allergic reaction to your medications like swelling on your face or around the eyes, lips, or tongue may be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.
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