HIV/AIDS Testing And Treatment (HIV/AIDS CURE)
From the last 15 years research in HIV/AIDS have been moving at a fast pace. Today, we have identified a lot of different things about the HIV virus and the research and knowledge is constantly advancing with a steady increase in the speed. However, for now there is still no effective or proven cure for HIV/AIDS. Till date, no vaccine has been developed that is scientifically proven to cure HIV/AIDS.
Scientists are constantly researching about the HIV virus in order to find out a cure for this disastrous virus. Although they haven’t yet found a reliable cure but there are many medications and treatments available to improve the quality of life of people suffering from HIV/AIDS.
These medications and treatments for HIV/AIDS are more than successful. By taking these treatments the life expectancy of the people suffering from this disease has been increased enormously. An interesting fact is that there have been cases where the bodies of the infected peoples were able to suppress the virus permanently. These people are referred to as elite controllers.
SCOPE FOR HIV/AIDS CURE
Scientists and researchers are constantly working on developing a cure for HIV/AIDS. Recent study shows that it is expected that there will be a scientifically proven and reliable cure available for HIV/AIDS by 2025. Till that time it is recommended that the treatment of the HIV virus via various medications and antiviral therapies should be continued by the infected persons.
Treatment for HIV infection should be started as soon as you are identified HIV positive. If the treatment for HIV infection starts at an earlier stage then your life becomes a lot better as well as the quality and expectancy of your life also increases. It is essential that if the mother of a newborn is infected then the baby must get tested for HIV infection. If the results are positive then treatment should be started immediately as babies don’t have much strong immune system and they are at a higher risk of dying if proper treatment and medication is not provided.
It has been discovered that the cells of the HIV virus stay hidden inside your body at places where it is hard to find them out. Research is constantly going on to find out strategies to find and eliminate these cells easily.
WAYS TO TREAT HIV INFECTION
As of now there is no long lasting and reliable cure for HIV/AIDS however there are certain treatments available to suppress the effects of the virus for the time being which helps most of the infected people to live a much longer and healthy life.
Life Saving HIV Treatment:
If you think you recently have been infected with this deadly virus then there is great possibility that you can cure the disease at the beginning with proper anti-HIV medications and treatments. If your body has been exposed to the disease in less than 3 days (72 hours) then there is more than 90% chance that you will be able to cure the disease with proper HIV treatment.
This type of medication is known as PEP or Post-Exposure Prophylaxis. The quicker you take this treatment the more are the chances that your infection gets cured provided the treatment must be started within 72 hours of exposure and on the contrary the longer you wait the lesser are the chances of the infection getting cured.
In today’s world PEP medication is popular with the name of “Morning-After Pill” for the HIV virus. This medication has got this name due to a misunderstanding of its actual use because of women taking it as an emergency pill in order to avoid getting pregnant after having an unprotected sexual intercourse.
Actually, PEP medication is a much longer treatment for HIV and its course usually lasts for about 30 days. The biggest irony of this medication is that although in most cases it does work but it is not a guarantee that it will definitely work in each and every case and it does have tons of other disastrous side effects too.
PEP medication is easily available from health clinics especially sexual based or GUM clinics/hospitals. It is highly recommended that you go forward to PEP treatment only and only if your doctor says so.
Positive HIV/AIDS Test Results after 3 days or More
In the case you are diagnosed HIV positive after 72 hours (3 days) or more since the exposure of the virus then normal procedures to treat HIV infection will be followed to treat the HIV infection. Before the actual treatment is started you will be having regular blood tests in order to monitor the progress that HIV infection has made and at what pace is it increasing.
This particularly concludes viral blood tests and determining the damage the immune system has taken due to the HIV virus. Further, this progress is monitored by monitoring the levels of CD4+ve cells in your body. In most cases, treatment for HIV/AIDS starts when the count of CD4+ve cells becomes 350 or less.
It is not necessary that you will experience the signs and symptoms of HIV at this stage however once the count of CD4+ve cells is less than 350 the treatment starts. The basic objectives of the treatment that is provided at this stage is to reduce the flow and level of the HIV virus in your blood, prevent the virus from further damaging the immune system and to support the immune system so it can repair itself. This further prevents other HIV related illnesses at this stage.
It is to be noted that it is not necessary that the treatment must be started when the CD4 cells count falls below 350. If you are suffering from other conditions too such as Hepatitis A, B or C then it is recommended that the treatment must be started when the CD4 cells count falls under 500. Apart from that it is highly suggested that you should have a proper discussion with your doctor to find out when to start the treatment for HIV infection in your particular case.
Antiretroviral Medication and Treatment for HIV/AIDS
ARVs or antiretrovirals are a great way to treat HIV infection. The beauty of this medication is that it stops the HIV virus to further increase in the body and enables the immune system to repair itself and prevent any further damage. Usually different types of antiretroviral drugs are used to treat a patient suffering from HIV because the HIV virus is so adaptive that it adapts to the antiretroviral drug and resists it if only one type of antiretroviral drug is being used to treat the HIV infection.
Usually patients of HIV infection who are being treated by antiretroviral treatment take a combination of 3 or more types of antiretroviral drugs and this is known as ART or Antiretroviral Therapy. For the ease of intake of these drugs some antiretroviral drugs have been combined together as a single pill which is taken each and every day and it is popularly known as “Fixed Dose Combination”.
The Fixed Dose Combination is usually prescribed to those who are at the early stages of HIV infection. Taking a pill or two everyday is sufficient in order to treat the HIV infection in this scenario. There are many different combinations of ARVs and different combinations works and suits differently for different people so the combination of ARV that is prescribed to you will suit only you.
The biggest pity of this treatment is that once you start taking the antiretroviral pills and therapies then you have to take them till your death so that the medication stays effective and its effects remain long lasting. The antiretroviral treatment may fail if it is not taken on a regular basis. The drugs prescribed in this treatment may react with other drugs that you might take so it is advised to make sure that there is no reaction between the drugs that you take for antiretroviral treatment and other purposes.
Treatment at Pregnancy
An infected pregnant woman can avoid passing the HIV infection to her child with the help of ARV treatment and medication. There is approximately 25% chance that an infected pregnant mother will pass her infection to the child. So it can be said that approximately 1 of every 4 pregnant mothers will pass her infection to her child if she does not take this treatment.
Although it is not 100% guaranteed that if you take the ARV treatment then you will definitely not pass over your infection to your child however if the treatment is being taken by the mother on a regular basis then the risk of transmission reduces to less than 0.01%. It is highly recommended NOT to breastfeed your kid if you have HIV infection as research shows that the HIV virus mostly gets transmitted to the child via breast milk from the infected mother.
ARV treatment for pregnancy only works if the medication prescribed is taken on a regularly basis. It is not acceptable even if you miss a single dose. It is highly suggested to consult your doctor and make up a daily routine for the intake of the medicines based on his/her recommendations.
Side Effects of HIV/AIDS Treatment
HIV/AIDS treatment does possess various types of side effects. HIV/AIDS treatment may also cause very serious side effects but the cases are pretty rare. Most common side effects of HIV/AIDS treatment are:
- Skin Rashes
- Diarrhea and Nausea
- Sleep Difficulties
If you do feel that you are suffering from side effects of HIV treatment and the condition is worsening day by day then it is highly recommended to consult your doctor and take a different combination of ARVs. Treatment for HIV is usually provided at sexual hospitals or sexual clinics.
HIV/AIDS test is normally done at hospitals and sexual health clinics. In a few countries the HIV/AIDS testing services are provided at home or online or via mail order. If you feel that you might have been exposed to the HIV virus or if you feel that you are suffering the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS then it is always suggested to first consult your doctor and then proceed further on HIV testing based on your doctor’s recommendations.
There are 5 different ways to test the presence of the HIV virus in the human body which are commonly known as:-
- Antibody Tests
- Antigen Tests
- Fourth Generation Tests
- Nucleic Acid Tests (NAT)
- Rapid Oral Tests
Antibody tests is one of the most widely and commonly used tests for checking if you are HIV positive or not. These tests are easily available and affordable and the results of these tests are extremely accurate as compared to others.
Antibody tests are specifically designed to test the presence of HIV antibodies in your body in order to figure out if you are HIV positive or not. Usually the window period of these tests is considered around 3-6 months and during this period it may also give false negatives. False negative means that it may show that no antibodies were detected despite the presence of HIV virus although the case is pretty rare.
Antibody tests are basically designed and used for routine diagnosis of the HIV virus in adults. Adults usually develop antibodies for HIV in about a month or two after the exposure to the virus. These tests are very accurate at detecting the presence of HIV antibodies and if the tests do not discover any signs of HIV antibodies within 6 months then it means you are not infected by the HIV virus. It is to be noted that if Antiretroviral Therapy is being taken during the window period then the formation of antibodies may get delayed up to 1 year.
Antigen tests are also a good way to test HIV infection. Antigen Tests basically detect the presence of p24 viral proteins in your body in order to find out if you are HIV positive or not. The window period for antigen tests is around 3-4 weeks.
Antigen tests are highly reliable for testing the infection at early stages of HIV infection but once the early stages have been passed away then testing for the presence of HIV via antigen tests is not a good idea as at these stages it will show up many false negatives. Due to this antigen tests are no longer used in USA and EU for testing HIV on routine purposes.
Fourth Generation Tests:
In order to test the presence of HIV virus in the body Fourth Generation Tests are considered to be highly reliable. These tests test the presence of HIV antibodies and p24 viral proteins simultaneously. The window period for these tests is around 3-4 weeks.
In these tests the detection of HIV virus is much more accurate than other tests due to combined detection of both the HIV antibodies and p24 viral proteins. Fourth Generation Tests are most recommended and used in United Kingdom (UK) for testing HIV.
Nucleic Acid Tests (NAT):
Nucleic Acid Tests is one of the most reliable and widely used tests all over the globe. NAT tests are also commonly known as PCR tests. NAT tests are basically done to detect the presence of genetic material belonging to the HIV virus in order to identify if you are HIV positive or not. The window period of NAT tests is about 2 weeks.
In most of the developed countries only NAT tests are used for HIV testing. Newborns to infected mothers are usually tested with NAT tests as the result is extremely reliable and the tests can identify HIV infection in blood within 2-3 weeks. These tests are basically preferred due to shorter window period and high reliability.
Rapid Oral Tests:
Another FDA approved way of testing HIV infection is Rapid Oral Tests or Point Of Care Tests. These tests are basically performed to identify the presence of HIV antibodies in your body in order to identify if you are HIV positive or not. The window period of these tests is around 3 months.
Rapid oral tests are an immunoassay intended to use oral fluids to obtain results within 20 minutes. The results shown however are not much reliable and are considered satisfactory. The best part of these tests is that there is absolutely no requirement of laboratories, sexual health clinics or hospitals to perform these tests as they can be performed at your home very easily.
HIV/AIDS MYTHS AND FACTS
In today’s world HIV/AIDS is considered to be a plague on earth and the people who are suffering with this disastrous disease are considered to be a plague on the society. Although some of the rumors regarding HIV/AIDS are correct but in reality there are many misconceptions regarding HIV/AIDS.
- HIV gets transmitted by shaking hands
- HIV gets transmitted by casual kissing
- HIV gets transmitted by hugging
- HIV gets transmitted by sharing the same toilet
- HIV gets transmitted by touching
- HIV gets transmitted by giving mouth to mouth breath
- AIDS and HIV means the same
- Lives of people suffering from HIV is very short
- Symptoms will tell you if you have HIV
- HIV is curable
- If both partners have HIV then having unprotected sex is safe
- Other HIV related infections aren’t avoidable if you have HIV
- Without insurance you can’t get life saving HIV medication
- Gays or lesbians cannot get affected with HIV
- HIV doesn’t easily get transmitted by casual contact
- HIV can affect anyone
- You can have a baby even if you have HIV
- You can live a healthy life even if you are HIV infected
- HIV cannot get transmitted by casual contacts
The treatment that is being provided to treat the problem of HIV/AIDS is only effective if it is being consumed by the patient at regular intervals. It is not acceptable even if you miss a few doses. It is recommended to plan a schedule or lifestyle which regulates your HIV treatment and therapies effectively and efficiently.
Patients are suggested to take necessary precautions as well as consume a healthy diet to stay fit and fine. HIV treatment is much more effective to a stronger body than a weaker one. Patients should always stay keen to gain more and more knowledge on their condition and steps to stay healthy at this condition. Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited if you are a patient of HIV/AIDS.
Additional precautions should be taken by HIV patients on the exposure of the disease to normal persons. People suffering from HIV are suggested to wear coverings on their wounds if any and avoid direct contact with normal persons as much as they can. These precautions should also be followed when HIV patients are near animals.
Regular check must be kept on the condition of the patient by a regular contact with the source from where the treatment is being received. If you have been diagnosed with HIV recently then naturally you will be suffering from a few psychological conditions such as depression or anxiety. This condition is absolutely normal and the patients are suggested to overcome this situation by taking necessary steps as there are many misconceptions regarding HIV/AIDS which are absolutely false.