Good medical care, including access to medicines against HIVAIDS can mean a long and healthy life for people living with HIV. The current treatment does not cure HIV, but it keeps the virus under control, allowing the immune system to stay strong.
The number of illnesses and deaths in people with HIV declined sharply after the emergence of combination therapy (the cocktail) began to be used in the mid-1990 decade.
Since then, there have been no major improvements in HIV treatment, except for the emergence of new drugs. Research has shown that treatment for HIV means that someone with HIV has a more or less "normal" life expectancy.
To speak plaintively, HIV treatment works!
To get the most benefits from HIV treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) you need to take your treatment seriously, in the way your doctor prescribed it, every day.
For most people get HIV treatment, which means that one or two tablets once a day. Many people will forget a dose at some point, but most anti-HIV agents will continue to work if you miss an occasional dose and take it a few hours later.
You are more likely to get the most benefit from HIV treatment if you start taking this treatment before HIV has done a lot of damage to your immune system. In Brazil, HIV treatment and care standards are defined and controlled by the National STD / AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Program, an agency of the Ministry of Health.
Guidelines on HIV treatment currently recommend following the diagnosis the following guidelines, taken from the National STD / AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Program website:
After receiving the diagnosis of HIV infection, the patient should make an appointment with an AIDS specialist at the Specialized Assistance Service (SAE).
In this first consultation, the patient must inform the initial medical history, diagnosis time, if he or she has already presented a serious illness and what are the conditions and the habits of life. At the first visit, the doctor may ask for tests such as: complete blood count, urine, faeces, glucose (sugar), cholesterol and triglycerides (fats), chest X-rays, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis and the count of CD4 + T lymphocytes (indicates the defense system) and viral load (amount of virus circulating in the blood).
Depending on the outcome of the clinical and laboratory tests, it may be necessary for the HIV-positive to start antiretroviral therapy, which is drug treatment. The doctor will follow the patient, who must return regularly to the office within the time determined by the professionals. At SAE, consultations with psychologists, social workers, nutritionists, nurses and pharmacists are also available.
Consultation with the health professional is the right time to clarify any doubts. The patient should know how to take the medications, what times they fit the routine, or how to adjust their daily habits to take the medication regularly. The doctor should talk about the symptoms that can be caused by the medicines and what should be done if any of these side effects arise - most of the symptoms disappear within a few days. This first contact with the doctor is the initial step to successful treatment.
The team involved in the care of HIV-positive people has all the conditions to respond on any matter related to the treatment and prevention of the disease. So always ask about anything you have doubts about!
Initiating treatment based on these guidelines has proven to be effective in reducing the risk of HIV-related illnesses and some other serious illnesses such as heart disease, kidney and liver disease.
In some situations, it may be advisable that someone start treatment earlier. These situations include:
- If you have an HIV-related illness
- If you have hepatitis
- If you need cancer treatment
- If you are over 50 for years, or
- To reduce the risk of transmitting HIV.
Once you have started treatment, it is important that you take all doses of antiretroviral drugs correctly.
This means that it is very unlikely that the drug will stop working because HIV became resistant to them just by having delayed, in a few hours, a dose of the antiretroviral. You can find out more about HIV treatment in the book on this PN / STD / AIDS / HV.
Like any other medicines, medications used to treat HIV can have unwanted effects that are sometimes unpleasant, or may even harm you.
These are called side effects. Sometimes they are also called side effects, adverse events or adverse reactions.
It is important to note that the benefits of HIV treatment far outweigh the risk of side effects.
The anti-HIV medications used today causes far fewer side effects than those used in the past. The spectrum of choice for antiretroviral drugs is much greater now, and changing the drug combination is something that can usually be done if your antiretroviral drug causes you side effects. You do not have to "smile and bear," as in the beginning of this way of treating HIV infection with its side effects.
Today, we are in 2015, it is much simpler to treat HIV infection
Note the Seropositive Web Site Editor: I remember for choosing to die without vomiting six times a day, one every dose of AZT, than take "this remedy from hell", as raised my spirit, every time the nurse came with the _maldito AZT_!
Times have changed and, once it has been very difficult to treat themselves against HIV infection, which at the time I found myself HIV positive was a literally non-existent concept because carry HIV meant even have AIDS today is much simpler.
On the other hand, other than this "simplicity" an excuse to think ":
"Wow! Yay! We can have sex without a condom! ".
Na, ni, in no!
There is life with HIV. But it is much better to live without it!