HIV/AIDS Treatment

Unfortunately, there is a large misconception about HIV and AIDS about a cure. However, there isn’t a cure available at this time for HIV or AIDS, although there are many treatment options available with modern medical science to help infected teens and adults.

This article takes a look at HIV/AIDS treatment options and medical advancements since the first cases were discovered in 1981. But first, we will cover the basics of the HIV/AIDS infection and illness.

What is HIV?
  • HIV = Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • HIV causes damage to the body by attacking the human immune system. Usually a person’s system works successfully by keeping the body protected from infection by attacking viruses that cause internal damage. However, HIV attacks the immune system directly, which stops it from being able to protect itself. The immune system becomes compromised and allows the body to develop AIDS.
What is AIDS?
  • AIDS = Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
  • AIDS typically develops in about the 10 years following the contraction of the HIV infection. If untreated, on average, it takes about that long for the HIV to kill the healing cells produced by the immune system. AIDS develops in the body, once the immune system can no longer fight off the infection.
  • However, a person with an already weak immune system from improper nutrition or other types of illness may develop AIDS more quickly.
Individuals infected with HIV are still developing AIDS despite many treatment options because many do not know they are infected and don’t get treatment with antiretroviaral medication before it spreads too far. In addition, some people might live in an underdeveloped area where they do not have access to the antiretroviaral treatment. This is why AIDS is still a growing epidemic in areas with poor health care access and a severe lack of treatment opportunities.
HIV/AIDS Treatment:
  • As previously mentioned there is still no cure for HIV or AIDS. However, there is now a popular type of treatment that can help prevent symptoms and the illness from progressing for many years.
  • This type of medication is called an antiretroviral. It is a treatment system that consists of a series of drugs. These medications have to be taken every day for the rest of the infected person’s life in order to be effective in prolonging the health of the human immune system.
  • The antiretroviral drugs work by keeping the amount of HIV in a person’s system as low as possible to help minimize the damage.
  • The infected person receives treatment through multiple medications in a method called combination therapy. This is the most effective way to treat HIV helping to to stop the infection from becoming drug resistant, which would be the outcome if there was only one medication used.
How is HIV transferred between people? 
  • Unprotected sexual intercourse with an HIV/AIDS infected partner
  • Direct contact with the blood of an infected person.
  • Drugs used with a needle can transfer HIV between the drug users using the same needle.
  • A infected mother can give the infection to her baby during pregnancy, delivery and through breast feeding.
  • The first signs of AIDS development from HIV occurs when the infected person develops some sort of AIDS-related condition. This happens through an “opportunistic infection” and results in an AIDS-related cancer. AIDS is more difficult to treat than HIV and can be fatal. It is referred to as an “opportunistic” type of infection because it takes the opportunity of a severely weekend immune system and it attacks the body.
  • A person can still develop AIDS even if they have not developed an opportunistic infeciton. When the cells (CD4 cells) of the immune system of an HIV-infected person drop below a certain level, they can develop AIDS.
  • Early AIDS/HIV symptoms in the first few weeks after contracting HIV are different than the symptoms seen later in the illness. Initially you may experience flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, sore throat and rash. However, after you have had the infection for a few years, the symptoms worsen to include diarrhea, weight loss, fever, cough and swollen lymph nodes.
  • If the HIV is not treated or necessary medications are not available in time, the infection will develop into AIDS. AIDS symptoms are even more severe symptoms including soaking night sweats, shaking, chills, fever, chronic diarrhea, unusual lesions on the tongue or mouth, headache, chronic fatigue, distorted vision, severe weight loss and skin rashes or raised bumps.
HIV/AIDS Prevention:
  • Abstinence from any form of sexual contact where there is the transference of semen to avoid spreading the infection to other sexual partners.
  • Be careful around an HIV/AIDS-infected person’s blood.
  • Practice safe sex in a monogamous relationship only where you know your partner is not infected with HIV.
  • Sexually active teens should remember that if you are going to have sex, correctly use a latex condom each and every time.