How to treat HIV?
HIV infection is a chronic, treatable disease these days. The treatment that aims to suppress the growth of the HIV virus in the body with an antiviral drug is called ART (Anti Retroviral Therapy). The drugs used to treat HIV control are collectively called ARV (short for Anti Retro Viral) that helps to inhibit the growth of the virus in the body, improve physical health, make life more comfortable. In particular, people living with HIV who are on ARV treatment and have an undetectable viral load in the blood are not at risk of HIV transmission through sexual intercourse (K = K).
What is HIV?
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infection, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. It is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly during unprotected sex (sex without a condom or HIV medicine to prevent or treat HIV), or through sharing injection drug equipment. If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
What is AIDS, can it be cured?
AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body’s CD4 immune system is badly damaged because of the virus. In the U.S., most people with HIV do not develop AIDS because taking HIV medicine every day as prescribed stops the progression of the disease. A person with HIV is considered to have progressed to AIDS when: (1) the number of their CD4 cells falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood (200 cells/mm3). (In someone with a healthy immune system, CD4 counts are between 500 and 1,600 cells/mm3.) OR (2) they develop one or more opportunistic infections regardless of their CD4 count.
HIV / AIDS is a chronic and incurable disease. However, antiretroviral treatment for HIV can help the immune system fight HIV, suppress HIV development, and reduce the viral load to the undetectable threshold = No sexually transmitted infection (K = K). Other medicines can also be used to treat symptoms of the disease. Maintaining good regimes and living habits can help reducing the progression of the disease.
What to do if I am positive with HIV?
If the test results are positive at serological screening such as: HIV rapid test, HIV Combi PT, HIV Combo Ag / Ab ..., it means that the patient can be infected with HIV, then the patient need to do a confirmatory HIV test (either birth or molecule depending on the subject), the test result will accurately indicate whether the patient is infected or not.
When the HIV positive result is confirmed, the patient is sure to be confused and anxious. However, being confused and anxious cannot change reality, the patient should quickly get rid of negative thoughts and decide to live with his or her illness. See your doctor right away to get treatment as well as get advice on how to safely live with HIV.
How to prevent HIV transmission to loved ones?
HIV is difficult to spread through casual contact. Patients need to have a thorough grasp of the ways of transmission: blood, sexual intercourse and mother-to-child, in order to protect loved ones.
Under good treatment, people living with HIV can achieve viral load below threshold of 200 copies/ml after 6 months. If you have maintained a viral load below that threshold for at least six months and continue to have good adherence, there is no risk of passing on HIV to a sexual partner. Researches proved that “undetectable = untransmittable”. Although “undetectable = untransmittable” only ensures no sexual transmission, the mother properly treating HIV will help reduce the risk of HIV transmission to her child and the rate of infection is less than 1%.
Condoms need to be used when having sex to prevent transmission of infection to your partner and to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases. HIV infection often means increase in the risk of infection and sexually transmitted diseases, so early screening and treatment should be regularly.
Do not share syringes, needles, or other items that easily cause scratches such as brushes, razors to avoid letting loved ones touch your blood.
If your partner is HIV negative, it is recommended that you take a daily pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV. If a loved one is exposed to HIV but is not protected, a doctor should be contacted immediately to use PEP (HIV post-exposure prophylaxis).
What are the typical symptoms of HIV infection?
Some people show no signs of HIV infection for many years after becoming infected. However, many people may experience some symptoms 10 days to weeks after becoming infected. These first symptoms are similar to flu or mononucleosis and can include fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, rash, and muscle aches. These symptoms usually go away after a few weeks and you may not have them again for a few years. The only way to be sure you have HIV is to have a blood test.
Where can you have HIV treatment?
o Hospitals and health centers of districts or higher districts provide ARV treatment services for HIV-infected people. Some private clinics also offer this service (in the form of self-pay and health insurance). Patients can book an appointment online on our system to be examined and treated in several community-friendly clinics.
When the health is stable, depending on the actual circumstances, the patient can check and receive the medicine every month at the medical facility where he/she lives.
ARV medicines are covered through the Health Insurance Fund. Therefore, HIV-infected people need to participate in health insurance to receive long-term, continuous ARV treatment.
What is ARV treatment adherence?
o Antiretroviral therapy is a continuous, long-term treatment. ARV adherence is the determining factor for treatment effectiveness. Adherence to treatment is to take the right medication, the right dose, on time and correctly, daily, as directed by health staffs. Non-compliance leads to drug resistance and treatment failure.
On time: In order to comply with treatment, supportive measures can be used such as: asking someone to remind you to take the medicine, a timer with a watch, a reminder on the phone, taking medicine in association with a daily activity such as dinner.
Right medication: Take the correct ARV medication that the clinic gives you or buy elsewhere but still ensure that the doctor's prescription is correct. Follow-up visit / take medicine on time, in case you cannot pick up your medicine on time, go earlier to avoid having no medicine to take.
Right dose: Take the correct amount of prescription pills, no more or less. Can use a daily dispenser.
Right way: If it is a pill, you need to take the whole pill, do not break the pill or crush it by yourself. The right amount: Take the correct amount of prescription pills, no more or less. Can use a daily dispenser.
On-time re-examiniation: Follow-up on time and perform all necessary tests as required by your doctor, including both physical and financial preparation for each pre-test. Timely test results reports will help doctors monitor your health more accurately, make timely decisions to help increase the effectiveness of treatment. If it is a pill, you need to take the whole pill, do not break the tablet or crush it by yourself.
Take medicines to prevent opportunistic infections as directed by your doctor(see above). Taking medications to prevent infection contributes to more effective ARV treatment.
Maintain a proper nutrition, exercise, work and activity regimen: consult your doctor and health professional about nutrition, exercise, work and rest to increase efficiency. of antiretroviral therapy as well as helping to improve the immune system.
Apply safe sexual practices: always be prepared to protect yourself during sexual intercourse to avoid cross-infection from someone with HIV and / or another sexually transmitted disease. Failure to take safety measures could lead to infection with resistant strains of HIV, causing failure to resist the virus; Other sexually transmitted infections may also interfere with ARV treatment, impair the immune system, or be more severe.
o Keep in regular contact with one (or more) HIV and ARV counselors: someone who can assist you in all of the above activities. If other problems arise, they may also be able to give you advice or advice that might be helpful.
What is “undetectable = untransmittable”, how long will a patient reach it?
Under good treatment, people living with HIV can achieve viral load below threshold of 200 copies/ml after 6 months. If you have maintained a viral load below that threshold for at least six months and continue to have good adherence, there is no risk of passing on HIV to a sexual partner. Researches proved that “undetectable = untransmittable”. Note, “undetectable = untransmittable” does not apply to blood-borne and maternal-to-child transmission. However, the mother properly treating HIV will help reduce the risk of HIV transmission to her child and the rate of infection is less than 1%.
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