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.
Will Injectable Hiv Treatment Be Practical In Low
So far, long-acting antiretrovirals have primarily been studied in mostly men from higher income countries, which is not representative of the global HIV epidemic. Research in more diverse settings is needed.
The cost of cabotegravir and rilpivirine could be a significant barrier to provision in low- and middle-income countries. Highly effective and safe oral antiretroviral therapies already exist, at a cost of less than US$80 a year, and the injectables price will need to be competitive against this. The work processes of already over-burdened clinics will need to be rethought, or alternative service providers identified.
Several African countries do already have large programmes providing contraceptive injections, suggesting it may be feasible to administer injectable HIV treatment too. However, there may be extra challenges. Rilpivirine needs to be stored in a fridge cabotegravir and rilpivirine is not suitable for people with HIV and hepatitis B co-infection and they should not be used at the same time as some tuberculosis medications .
Should You Ever Switch The Drugs You’re Taking
You should never change the drug plan you’re on without talking with your provider. This is a very important decision and one that must be made with your provider.
There are a few reasons that your provider may suggest you change your medicines. There may be a fixed-dose combination pill that could simplify your therapy. Or your treatment may not be working well enough and you may need different medicines. Or you may have side effects that are bothering you, or lab tests that show signs of ill effects from the HIV drugs .
Before changing medicines, you and your provider should talk about:
- All the HIV drugs you have taken before and the ones you haven’t taken
- Any drug resistance your HIV virus may have
- Possible side effects of the new medicines
- How well you will be able to follow the new drug treatment plan
Always be sure to talk with your provider about any changes in your drug treatment.
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How Does Acute Hiv Affect The Body
Once a person contracts HIV, the acute infection takes place immediately.
Symptoms of the acute infection may take place days to weeks after the virus has been contracted. During this time, the virus is multiplying rapidly in the body, unchecked.
This initial HIV stage can result in flu-like symptoms. Examples of these symptoms include:
- myalgias, or muscle pain
However, not all people with HIV experience initial flu-like symptoms.
The flu symptoms are due to the increase of copies of HIV and widespread infection in the body. During this time, the amount of CD4 cells starts to fall very quickly. The immune system then kicks in, causing CD4 levels to rise once again. However, the CD4 levels may not return to their pre-HIV height.
In addition to potentially causing symptoms, the acute stage is when people with HIV have the greatest chance of transmitting the virus to others. This is because HIV levels are very high at this time. The acute stage typically lasts between several weeks and months.
Where Are The Injections Given
Both injections are given into the muscle of the buttocks, a few minutes apart, by a healthcare professional. As cabotegravir and rilpivirine must be injected into a muscle large enough to take the required volume of medication, the buttocks are considered to be the only feasible site. Self-injection is not currently an option.
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When Do Ars Symptoms Usually Start
ARS begins about 26 weeks following transmission of HIV.
Not everyone with HIV will have ARS symptoms. These occur in 2590% of people who have recently contracted the virus.
Even though ARS symptoms disappear or may not be present in some cases, it is essential to remember that the person is still HIV-positive and that the infection can pass from them to others.
In the early stage of HIV infection, an individual will have extremely high viral levels, making transmission more likely.
Some research has shown that the acute phase of HIV infections accounts for up to 50% of disease transmission.
ARS symptoms often resemble those of the flu or other viral infections, although some individuals have no symptoms at all.
Up to 75% of people will not experience ARS symptoms.
Those who do may have the following symptoms, which can last for several weeks:
HIV is a progressive disease, meaning that for most individuals living with HIV, their health deteriorates over time.
Someone in the early stages of HIV may have no symptoms at all or only mild symptoms.
However, as HIV advances, it causes increasing damage to the immune system, and the individual will likely develop more severe symptoms.
For this reason, it is vital to recognize symptoms that could indicate an HIV infection.
The sooner a person understands their HIV status, the earlier they can begin medications that can extend their life and keep them healthy.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection In Children
, MD, Golisano Childrens Hospital
Human immunodeficiency virus infection is caused by the viruses HIV-1 and HIV-2 and, in young children, is typically acquired from the mother at the time of birth.
Signs of infection include slowed growth, enlargement of lymph nodes in several areas of the body, developmental delay, recurring bacterial infections, and lung inflammation.
The diagnosis is based on special blood tests.
Children who receive anti-HIV drug therapy can live to adulthood.
Infected mothers can prevent transmitting the infection to their newborn by taking antiretroviral therapy, feeding their newborn formula rather than breast milk, and, for some women, undergoing a cesarean delivery.
Children are treated with the same drugs as adults.
There are two human immunodeficiency viruses:
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is the most severe form of HIV infection. A child with HIV infection is considered to have AIDS when at least one complicating illness develops or when there is a significant decline in the body’s ability to defend itself from infection.
Although the number of HIV-infected infants and children living in the United States continues to decrease, the number of HIV-infected adolescents and young adults is increasing. The number is increasing because children who were infected as infants are surviving longer and new cases are developing in adolescents and young adults, particularly in young men who have sex with men.
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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.
Stage : Chronic Hiv Infection
At this stage, the infection becomes chronic rather than acute.
- Doctors may call this stage asymptomatic HIV infection or clinical latency.
- The HIV remains active, but the virus does not reproduce quickly.
- Some individuals have no symptoms during this stage.
- If an individual takes HIV medication, this stage may last for a decade or longer, although it can progress more quickly in some cases.
- HIV can transmit to other people during this stage, unless the person with HIV has been taking antiretroviral therapy for at least 6 months and has an undetectable viral load.
- At the end of this stage, the HIV levels in the blood increase, and immune cells called CD4 cells decrease.
- As the virus increases, and the immune system gradually fails, the condition progresses to stage 3.
- In some people, especially those who take HIV medicine as prescribed, HIV will not progress to stage 3.
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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,
What Can You Do To Look After Yourself
The most important thing is to start HIV treatment, and to take it exactly the way you are advised to .
Attend your HIV clinic for regular check-ups. These monitor how your treatment is working, with regular screening for other health problems. Having a good relationship with your healthcare team is important, so that you feel able to be honest about your health, lifestyle, adherence and any other issues, to help you receive the best possible care and support.
“Once your CD4 count improves, with continued treatment and care, your life expectancy is very good.”
Register with a GP for non-HIV-related health problems. GPs can give you an annual flu vaccination , and provide advice on lifestyle factors that help keep you well, including healthy eating, exercise and giving up smoking.
While your CD4 count is low , ensure your drinking water is free from infection and take extra care in preparing and storing food to avoid food poisoning. Be careful to avoid infections if you are handling animals or gardening. Your healthcare team can talk to you about any risks and give you advice.
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Stages Of Hiv Infection
The stages of infection from person to person vary slightly, both in severity and the speed of progression. These stages map the depletion of immune cells as the body’s defenses further and further degrade.
With each progression, the risk of opportunistic infections increases until the immune system is said to be fully compromised. It is at this stage that the risk of illness and death is particularly high.
The stages of infection can be roughly classified as follows:
Are The Injections Better Than Tablets
No, their efficacy is comparable. The cabotegravir and rilpivirine injectable regimen was approved by drug regulators based on the results of three randomised control trials:
- The first study involved people who hadnt taken HIV treatment before. All started with daily pills for around four and a half months . Half then continued with daily pills, while half switched to monthly injections.
- The second study recruited people who were already taking HIV treatment and had an undetectable viral load. Half continued with their daily pills, while half switched to monthly injections.
- As a follow-on from the second study, the third study compared injections once a month with injections once every two months.
A combination of medications and the way it is taken.
Each of the studies assessed the success of treatment in terms of how many people had an undetectable viral load after just under a year. Pooling the results of the three studies, this was the case for 94% of people given the injections. The first two studies found that the monthly injections were as effective as daily pills. Similarly, the third study found that injections every two months were non-inferior to monthly injections.
Visit the A-Z of antiretroviral medications to find out more about these research studies.
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Understanding Hiv And Aids
Generally speaking, the time it takes to go from HIV infection to AIDS is around five to 10 years if no medical intervention is made. Differences in time can be due to any number of factors, including:
- The genetic strain of HIV a person living with the virus has been infected with
- The general health of the individual
- The place where the person lives
- A person’s genetics or family history
- Smoking and other personal lifestyle choices
This is, of course, if the person receives no treatment. The picture changes entirely if they do.
Since 1996, the introduction of antiretroviral drugs has dramatically altered the natural progression of HIV infection. While HIV still cannot be cured, people newly diagnosed with HIV who get treated and stay in care can be expected to have near-normal to normal life expectancies. As with other chronic diseases, early detection is key to identifying and treating the virus as soon as possible.
Does Antiretroviral Treatment Have Side
As with all medication, starting to take ARVs can cause some side-effects, particularly in the first few days of treatment. This is another topic you could discuss with your doctor, as it might also affect your choice of drugs. Your treatment will be monitored and you may be recommended to switch drugs if they aren’t working for you or if you’re finding the side effects difficult to manage.
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Racial Sexual And Age
In the United States, the rate of HIV infection is highest in Blacks . The prevalence is also high among Hispanic persons . These increased rates result from socioeconomic factors rather than genetic predisposition.
In the developed world, HIV infection is much more common in males. In 2015, males accounted for 81% of all diagnoses of HIV infection among adults and adolescents in the United States. Among heterosexuals, females are more likely to acquire HIV infection from an infected male than a male is from an infected female, but a large proportion of infections in males are due to homosexual contact, with or without injection drug use. Males are also more likely to acquire HIV infection from injection drug use alone.
Males were also more likely to acquire HIV infection through contaminated blood products for treatment of hemophilia before universal testing of the blood supply was instituted. The risk of HIV exposure from factor VIII concentrates has been virtually eliminated by viricidal treatment of plasma-derived factor VIII concentrates, as well as the introduction of recombinant factor VIII concentrates and the gradual elimination of albumin from the production process used for these products.
In the developing world, HIV infection is equally common in males and females. The primary route of HIV transmission in the developing world is heterosexual contact.
How Can You Prevent Getting Opportunistic Infections
The best way to prevent OIs is to take HIV medication daily as prescribed so that you can get and keep an undetectable viral load and keep your immune system strong.
It is also important to stay in HIV medical care and get lab tests done. This will allow you and your health care provider to know when you might be at risk for OIs and discuss ways to prevent them.
Some of the ways people living with HIV can reduce their risk of getting an OI include:
- avoiding exposure to contaminated water and food
- taking medicines to prevent certain OIs
- getting vaccinated against some preventable infections
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Prevention Of Transmission For Infected Mothers
Current preventive therapy for infected pregnant women is highly effective at minimizing transmission. HIV-infected pregnant women should begin antiretroviral therapy by mouth. Ideally, ART should begin as soon as HIV infection is diagnosed and women are ready to follow the therapy as directed. HIV-infected pregnant women who are already on ART should continue the therapy throughout the pregnancy. HIV-infected women should also continue ART when trying to get pregnant.
In addition to maternal ART, the antiretroviral drug zidovudine is often given by vein during labor and delivery to the mother. ZDV is then given to the HIV-exposed newborn by mouth twice a day for the first 4 to 6 weeks of life . Treatment of mothers and children in this way reduces the rate of transmission from 25% to 1% or less. Also, cesarean delivery Cesarean Delivery Cesarean delivery is surgical delivery of a baby by incision through a womans abdomen and uterus. In the United States, up to 30% of deliveries are cesarean. Doctors use a cesarean delivery… read more done before labor begins may reduce the newborn’s risk of acquiring HIV infection. Doctors may recommend cesarean delivery for women whose infection was not well controlled by ART. After delivery, ART is continued for all HIV-infected women.