What treatments are available to people infected with HIV? and are they effective?
Many advanced treatments are available that can help individuals with HIV. Unlike previous treatments modern treatments are more effective and can thus help people living with HIV to live long healthier lives. Essentially, the essence of HIV treatments is to strengthen immunity while reducing virus load in the body. Modern day HIV treatments have the capability of slowing growth of the virus or altogether halt its replication. It is however important to note that HIV drugs cannot eliminate HIV virus but only reduce the virus load.
HIV is an abbreviation that stands for Human Immunodeficiency virus. It is classified under a class of viruses known as retroviruses. Typically, HIV destroys white body cells known as CD4 T cells. CD4 T cells are immune system responsible for protecting the body against attacks. HIV has the capability of multiplying within CD4 cells. This implies that white blood cells cannot destroy the HIV virus because it rapidly replicates whilst changing its protective outer coating.
HIV Drugs And Treatments
There are many types of drugs that are used in treatment of HIV. In most cases, people getting treatment for HIV take 3or more drugs;
- Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART)
- Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART).
- Combination therapy which is considered most effective in treatment for HIV.
The combination ordinarily involves 6 types of drugs. Each type of drug specifically attacks the virus in a distinct manner. The 6 drug classes include;
(a) Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs)
(b) Protease inhibitors (PIs)
(c) Integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs)
(d) Fusion inhibitors
(e) CCR5 antagonists (CCR5s) (also called entry inhibitors)
(f) Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs).
These classes or regimens of drugs are inclusive of more than 25 approved HIV treatment drugs. Some treatment medicines are combined in one pill and vice versa.
The combination of drugs also known as antiretroviral therapy (ARV) is recommended for all people living with HIV irrespective of how healthy they look or how long they have had the virus. So then, ordinarily a person initial regimen usually includes 3 treatment medicines from a minimum of 2 different HIV classes of drugs.
However, selection of HIV regiments is contingent on a number of factors including drug interactions, other diseases or conditions in which the HIV patient may be suffering from, cost of the treatment, convenience of the treatment, possible side effects as well as individuals varying needs.
In most cases, medicines used in the treatment of HIV are capable of interacting with other medications. However, it is always important to first check with your practitioners before taking other medications.
In essence, combination of ARV is used in treatment of HIV because HIV virus quickly adapts to treatment and becomes resistant to a single dose. Some ARV drugs have is combined into one pill containing the fixed dose. Implicitly, this means that HIV patients can just take one or two pills in a day. Various combinations of ARVs work differently for people. This means that medicines an individual takes are specifically tailored to a patient’s needs. Once a patient commences treatment then, the patient needs to continue in the regimen probably for a life time. The treatment is only effective if it is taken on a regular basis. Otherwise, the treatment may fail or altogether develop into AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
Other Types of HIV Treatments
Apart from medicines, individuals should incorporate other aspects to help keep the immunity strong. To begin with individuals should eat healthy food in the right way, quit using drugs and prevent more exposure to the virus by using protection whenever they engage in sexual activities.
It is also of utmost important that individuals living with HIV should at all-time reduce stress so as to effectively manage HIV related illnesses
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