HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, weakens your immune system, making you susceptible to many serious infections and cancers. These complications bring on AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Although HIV lacks a cure, your doctor can prescribe medications that help you better manage and control acquired infections.
What does HIV treatment look like?
HIV treatment typically involves the use of medications called antiretrovirals (ARV). Doctors commonly combine three of these medicines to assist in controlling the infection and how it spreads and grows. This combination therapy is called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). It significantly reduces the complexities related to HIV and lessens the probability of altering HIV into a drug-resistant strain.
Medications used for treating HIV
HIV cocktail therapy will include three drugs from two of the following types of antiretrovirals.
Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) block reverse transcriptase (The HIV protein). This protein is necessary to the virus to integrate its genetic material into yours and duplicate itself. Examples of this medicine include efavirenz (Sustiva) and rilpivirine (Edurant).
Nucleoside or nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) are flawed building blocks the virus uses to duplicate itself. Examples include combination regimens like lamivudine-zidovudine (Combivir) and emtricitabine/tenofovir (Truvada). Your doctor will use two NRTIs with a third drug from any of the other noted types.
Protease inhibitors (PIs) power of an HIV protein known as protease, which also necessary for HIV to reproduce itself. A popular example of this type is a medication called indinavir (Crixivan).
Integrase inhibitors halt a protein called integrase that HIV uses to attach its genetic code into the cells of your immune system.
Fusion inhibitors hinder the entrance of HIV into your immunity cells. An example of this is a drug called enfuvirtide (Fuzeon).
How to know which drug-cocktail will work best for you?
The HIV treatment center care team will select the HIV cocktail that works best for you considering a multitude of factors.
These factors include pill burden, the levels of the HIV virus in a patient’s system, the probability that one medication will interact with the another, any other health concerns held by a patient, and potential side effects. HIV meds have serious side effects that require medical supervision. Patients should keep regular medical appointments to allow healthcare providers to monitor any progression of the virus.
Is HIV treatment necessary for every patient?
Yes, it is vital to seek treatment for HIV. Current treatment aims to stop the HIV virus from multiplying, becoming evolution to AIDS, and spreading to sexual partners. Some patients may have HIV but do not exhibit symptoms of the illness.
The longer a patient puts off treatment, the greater their chances of the disease progressing to AIDS. Lack of medical treatment also puts patients at high risk of acquiring illnesses that can come about a person gets older. These illnesses are called non-AIDS related ailments.
If a patient seeks timely treatment of the HIV virus, studies have shown the virus to slow duplication of itself. Treatment also includes other benefits. These include preventing more harm to immune cells, decreasing the risk of acquiring AIDS, reducing the risk of HIV-related complexities, decreasing the chance of developing non-AIDS related ailments, including kidney issues, cardiovascular diseases, and liver and brain disorders, and lessen the chances of spreading HIV to others by reducing virus levels in blood.
Health insurance should cover the medical treatment of HIV/AIDS. If your insurance plan does not cover HIV treatment, it’s a good idea to obtain a plan that does.
Treatment without insurance
You can find treatment for HIV across the United States, and the Ryan White Program is a good option. The Ryan White Program is for patients with HIV/AIDS who have no health insurance or who may not be able to afford the medical services required for HIV/AIDS.
Is the HIV treatment working?
A doctor will monitor blood levels of virus (viral load) and immune cells to analyze your body is responding to the HIV treatment.
The personalized HIV drug-cocktail is effective if it is able to lower a patient’s viral load to levels that cannot be detected in the blood. It is important to note that these undetectable levels do not signify that the patient is cured of HIV. It means that viral levels in a patient’s blood have decreased enough to be undetected in testing.
HIV attacks the cells of the immune system. Declining immune cell numbers indicates that the HIV treatment is not working for the patient. However, a stable count indicates that the treatment is effective for the patient.
What is the biggest obstacle faced during HIV treatment?
Staying with an HIV treatment plan can be difficult for some patients. Patients sometimes forget to take medicines if they have a busy life. Side effects from the HIV pills (such as nausea and vomiting) sometimes hinder patients from taking medications in an effort to hold off being sick from the meds.
It is important for patients undergoing this treatment to understand that they should never skip doses. Skipped doses can allow the virus to multiply or mutate. Discuss your particular situation with a healthcare provider at the treatment center to determine what is right for you. There are medicines and other helpful tips to tackle the most common side effects of treatment. HIV is treatable, so take action that benefits your health. For more information, contact MississippiCare at (877) 876-8032 to speak with a healthcare professional. Why risk what can be prevented? Let the physicians at MississippiCare help you know the proper ways to be aware and take preventative measure for optimal sexual and general health.