Being infected with the HIV virus can be something devastating than no one wants to experience due to the seriousness of the illness; Although there is currently no cure for AIDS, there are a few treatment options available that may decrease the intensity of the symptoms and slow-down the progress of the disease before it
If you have been recently diagnosed as HIV positive, it is perfectly natural to feel shocked, sad, or completely depressed (especially at first) and you have every right to react that way since being diagnosed with the HIV virus means that your life will never be the same and you need to deal with changes
AIDS is without a doubt one of the greatest scourges of the latest decades affecting millions of people worldwide of all age groups and ethnicities. While currently there is no cure available for HIV virus, prevention is the key to be HIV-free. The HIV is a virus that can be transmitted generally through body fluids
Being infected with the HIV virus can be something devastating than no one wants to experience due to the seriousness of the illness; Although there is currently no cure for AIDS, there are a few treatment options available that may decrease the intensity of the symptoms and slow-down the progress of the disease before it damages the body’s system for good. The good news is that with the latest HIV drugs, medical advancements and unconventional treatments, many HIV positive patients can extend their life up to 50 years if they are under 24 or up to 30 years if there are 30+ which reaches almost the life expectancy of normal people. The life expectancy of course varies, but with the right Anti-HIV treatment the life expectancy will be greatly increased.
Currently AIDS can be treated with the following:
Anti-HIV or Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs
Antiretroviral drugs are currently the no1 option for treating AIDS due to their ability to inhibit the virus from spreading further and causing more damage internally. Antiretroviral drugs are classified into 5 different categories—each weakening the virus at a different phase of the HIV cycle. However, a HIV positive person will need 3 or more antiretroviral drugs to slow-down the growth of the virus significantly. Furthermore, ARV drugs are very expensive and have many side-effects (nausea, dizziness, skin disorders, headaches, diarrhea) which is something that dissuades many people and especially those in underdeveloped countries from following an ARV therapy.
If you have been diagnosed with HIV and decided to follow this route, your healthcare provider will recommend the right ARV therapy according to your preferences (e.g. how many pills are you willing to take per day, in what time of the day etc).
Apart from ARV drugs, the use of other complimentary drugs can be useful in treating the symptoms and infections of the disease as well as the side effects of the main ARV drugs used like nausea and headaches.
Alternative Healing Methods
Although less popular, alternative healing methods may prove to be useful in treating the symptoms of the disease and have been used by a portion of HIV positive people with generally good results.
Alternative healing methods include among others special dieting/nutrition,vitamin supplement consumption, herbal medicine, homeopathic medicine, hyperthermia, and ozone therapy. Just like ARV drugs, they cannot remove the HIV virus but they can nourish the body, clear the blood of unwanted external substances and strengthen the immune system to fight aids-related infections more easily.
Some studies have shown that the use of ARV drugs in conjunction with other alternative methods is the most effective approach to treat and slow-down the virus. However, HIV positive patients should never experiment on their own without telling their health care provided as there is risk of doing more damage than good.
HIV positive people are also encouraged to follow a healthier lifestyle and avoid the use (or abuse) of substances like tobacco, alcohol and drugs which can wreak havoc to an already weakened immune system and worsen Aids symptoms dramatically.
If you have been recently diagnosed as HIV positive, it is perfectly natural to feel shocked, sad, or completely depressed (especially at first) and you have every right to react that way since being diagnosed with the HIV virus means that your life will never be the same and you need to deal with changes in all aspects of your life.
Fortunately, even though your condition cannot be cured, there are many effective ways to cope with the disorder even if it seems devastating. These ways will not only improve your physical health but they will provide a basis for overall improvement in mental health and quality of life as well so read on:
1. Consult a health care physician that specializes in treating HIV positive people
A doctor that specializes in treating HIV positive or AIDS patients will be able to address and treat all the symptoms of the disorder as well make all the necessary recommendations to improve your health long-term.
Fortunately, there are many doctors across the nation and all over the world (if you live outside the U.S) who are HIV specialists. If your regular doctor hasn’t dealt before with HIV positive people, he/she might refer you to someone else that does. Alternatively, you can do your own research (e.g. through the internet) or contact the nearest AIDS organization to find the right doctor for you.
2. Relax and don’t act like it’s the end of the world
As I mentioned before, it’s natural to react outrageously at first but the way you handle the fact that you’re HIV positive afterwards is very important. If you are constantly crying or feel the need to be isolated from the outer world, you are not helping yourself in any way. Keep in mind that being diagnosed with HIV does not equal fast death like many old school AIDS commercials claim. The latest studies reveal that a large portion of HIV positive individuals do not develop full blown AIDS and live more than 10 years on average after getting infected with the virus. Some even have the potential of living up to 50 years after being diagnosed (at a young age) or 30 years if they are 40+, provided they receive proper anti-HIV treatment and take care of their selves in general.
3. Talk with a counselor
If you tried to stay calm but you need extra help from somewhere who truly knows how to deal with these issues mentally, contacting a specialized counselor or psychologist can help ease any negative feelings you may have and encourage you to live your life to the fullest, irrespective of the fact that you are HIV positive.
4. Join a support group
Over the last decades, there have been many organized attempts to offer comprehensive free or extremely affordable support to HIV positive people, so there is a high chance you can find an AIDS support group in your area or at least in your nearest state. AIDS support groups are also widely available online in case you feel uncomfortable with meeting other people face to face. AIDS support groups usually consist of medical and counseling professionals as well as HIV positive people who frequently hold meeting or small support groups exchanging valuable information on how to cope with the disease better.
That way, not only will you get advice for free, you will meet other HIV positive people to share your thoughts and experiences and feel an active part of a community.
5. Surround yourself only with loving people you trust
One of the most burning questions that comes to mind when you have just been diagnosed is “Should I tell others?” or “Who should I tell that I’m HIV positive?” and sadly, a large portion of HIV positives don’t have a clue how to deal with this and end up making big mistakes.
The best way to deal with the situation is to tell only the people you love like your close family and a few friends that you really trust. If you keep it all to yourself, you will soon feel depressed and isolated-on the other hand if you tell it to people that you don’t really know they will tell others and you will be stigmatized. In case of sexual encounters, inform your partner that you have an STD (without revealing any details) and make sure you always use a condom because you don’t want to spread the disease. In some states and countries, being aware that you are HIV positive and engaging in unprotected sex is strictly prohibited and the authorities have the right to arrest you if you consciously spread the disease to others so be extra careful.
Remember that while it’s hard to cope with the fact that you are HIV positive, but there are many ways to help yourself and live a healthier, quality life for longer.
AIDS is without a doubt one of the greatest scourges of the latest decades affecting millions of people worldwide of all age groups and ethnicities.
While currently there is no cure available for HIV virus, prevention is the key to be HIV-free. The HIV is a virus that can be transmitted generally through body fluids like blood, semen, vaginal fluids, vaginal fluids and rectal (anal) mucus.
The most common ways someone gets infected are as follows:
Sexual Intercourse remains the top most common way of getting infected with the HIV virus. The virus can enter the bloodstream through sexual intercourse by open sores or internal microscopic rips (from intense sexual activity) and the exchange of genital fluids through vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
The category that has higher HIV infection rate is sexual intercourse between gay and bisexual men which accounts to around 30,000+ new diagnosed incidents per year in the U.S alone. In particular, gay men can contract the disease through anal sex with an HIV positive partner although getting infected through performing oral sex on an HIV positive partner combined with open mouth sores, is also possible.
The second sub-category is heterosexual sexual intercourse which accounts to around 5.000 new diagnosed incidents per year, in the U.S according to official government statistics. Transmission through lesbian sexual intercourse is also possible through the exchange of vaginal or anal sex toys although much less common comparing to gay male and hetero sexual activities.
The stats only show the diagnosed incidents and it is estimated that the true exact numbers of HIV positive individuals are higher.
Studies have also revealed that people with STD’s like herpes, syphilis and gonorrhea, are much more likely to get infected that STD free individuals due to open sores in their genital skin.
Sharing Needles and Injected Drugs
The use of injected drugs possesses a risk of getting the virus with infected syringes than have been passed by one HIV positive drug user to another. National stats reveal that this is the second most common way of getting the disease with 3,650 new incidents in the 2011-2012 period and true numbers estimation is between 5000-8000.
From Mother to Child Before and After Pregnancy
If a mother is HIV positive, there is a 25% chance to transmit the virus in her child while still in the womb through blood circulation, during childbirth with infected vaginal fluids or though breastfeeding. When an HIV positive mother receives antiretroviral drug therapy and avoids breastfeeding, the chances of passing the disease to her child fall under 5%.
According to national statistics, there were 127 new incidents of Perinatal HIV transmission in the period of 2011-2012 making it the 4th most common way of contracting the disease.
Other less common ways to contract the disease are through unchecked blood transfusions, the use of contaminated needles or syringes and hemophilia-a blood disorder with a missing protein that prevents blood clotting making the patient more easily exposed to HIV contaminated blood from others. This is why AIDS can be spread with such ease. It’s a horrible thing to witness.
Those who have been trained for phlebotomy tasks, like collecting blood samples for analysis from different types of patients, face different challenges because of their responsibilities. Medical professionals working in the field of phlebotomy are typically found in environments such as commercial laboratories, hospitals, doctor’s offices and hospitals. One of the most common concerns among phlebotomists is the possibility of facing risks brought about by their task of collecting blood samples from different patients, including those with blood related medical conditions, such as AIDS.
But the question remains: are phlebotomists really at risk from AIDS? Read below to learn more about this concern.
How AIDS is transmitted?
There is no doubt that AIDS is a disease to be feared of. It is a highly contagious disease which can easily be transmitted from one person to another. The most common way of transmission is by having unprotected sex. On the other hand, the use of needles infected with the virus can also be a cause of transmission.
Once a person is infected with the virus, HIV is found in the body fluids such as semen, saliva, as well as blood. It is a misconception that the virus is transmitted by simple touching of hands. Through a valid method of transmission, the virus enters the blood stream and damages the body system, eventually causing havoc to the body.
The risks involved
There have been reports of healthcare workers facing the risk of exposure to AIDS because of their line of job. These medical professionals are exposed to the blood of a potentially infected patient. However, the risks remain as risks. It does not mean that medical professionals, such as phlebotomists are indeed in danger of acquiring AIDS just because they are performing their job.
Rest assured certain safety precautions are being implemented in various medical locations where phlebotomists work. Dangerous practices such as the ones listed below are definitely being avoided by professional phlebotomists.
- Recapping of used needs with the use of two hands
- Disassembling and recapping of vacuum-containing holders and tubes
- Reusing vacuum tube holders and tourniquets which may be contaminated with blood and virus
- Working alone while dealing with disoriented patients who may have the tendency to move unexpectedly, thus causing needle sticks.
Certain guidelines are being set in place in order to enhance the quality of extracting blood specimens, thus promoting safety among phlebotomists working in their field of work. All medical facilities are required to implement safety procedures in line with the guidelines directed by the World Health Organization. If a medical facility or an organization fails to do so, they are being reprimanded according to guidelines.
When it comes to dealing with serious medical conditions such as AIDS, everybody is indeed, at risk, not just phlebotomists or any other medical professional. The risks are there, but it does not mean that they will automatically acquire them. By following certain safety procedures, these risks are avoided accordingly and safety for both patients and phlebotomists is promoted. These procedures must especially be followed if you’re a mobile phlebotomist, since you will be doing your work on your own.
HIV or the human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus or a virus that slowly replicates. It causes AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV attacks the human body’s immune system and once the immune system weakens, life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers can be contracted. HIV infection can occur by the transfer of blood, vaginal fluid, semen, pre-ejaculate, and breast milk. HIV is present within bodily fluids as free virus particles and virus within infected immune cells.
Dialysis on the other hand is the process of removing waste and excess water in the blood. It is used as an artificial replacement for people who have lost kidney functions. The kidneys play an important role in a human body as it maintains the internal equilibrium of minerals and water. Aside from this, the kidney is also a part of the endocrine system by producing erythropoietin that is involved in the red blood cell production and calcitriol. Dialysis is not a cure but mainly replaces the kidneys function of waste removal or diffusion and fluid removal or ultrafiltration.
How HIV Works
Going back to HIV, once the immune system weakens and the HIV-infected individual contracts a major illness such as a cancer or tumor and is then considered having AIDS, the individual’s kidney functions can also deteriorate and thus, a need for dialysis occurs.
There is a growing concern for medical health workers as treating individuals with infectious diseases and illnesses such as HIV can result to the infection of the health workers. For patients receiving the dialysis treatment, the risk of contracting HIV is very small. This is because the strict infection control measures used by the dialysis care team protect a person against HIV and other infectious diseases. Also, donated blood is screened carefully for HIV before blood transfusion is done.
However, for the trained dialysis technician and other medical health workers, the risk is higher. Although, dialysis technicians are properly trained and infection control measures are always in place and strictly followed, the risk is always there. Aside from the possibility of contracting HIV outside of work, they can also contract HIV during work.
One high-risk scenario is when the dialysis technician performs the dialysis treatment to a patient outside the hospital or workplace. Some patients have their own dialysis machine and would only need the expertise and assistance of a dialysis technician. The area however would be less disinfected that if the procedure is done inside a hospital. If the patient has HIV and the technician is not aware, the infection can be contracted by the technician from needles used in the treatment.
Another serious risk is the occupational risk of needlestick injuries that most technicians and health care workers experience. Injuries acquired from needlesticks account for up to 80% of all blood accidental exposures. As HIV can be transmitted through the blood, the risk of a dialysis technician contracting the virus is high especially since dialysis treatments involved the infected person’s blood.
To avoid any kind of infections, dialysis technicians and other medical health workers must make sure that they are aware of all conditions their patients have to ensure that appropriate infection control measures are employed.
Will getting AIDS make your more likely to get sick? The immune system is the body’s natural defense against diseases. After some time, the HIV weakens the immune system to a point where the person may develop rare illnesses and/or cancers. The person is then said to have AIDS at this point.
HIV causes AIDS
CD4 cells are white blood cells that set other parts of the immune system to act when organisms such as bacteria, fungi and viruses that cause diseases are present in the body. If these organisms cannot be controlled by the immune system, it can cause diseases that weaken the body.
HIV affects the human body’s immune system in many parts however the most damaging is its effect to the CD4 cells. At first, the CD4 cells mount a defense against the HIV. Eventually however, the number of CD4 cells declines leaving the HIV numbers to rise. When the CD4 cells start to decline, the HIV infected person becomes more vulnerable to other infections. Once a person contracts serious illnesses like cancers and tumors because of the weakened state of the immune system, the person is then considered to have AIDS.
Aside from the HIV’s effect on the immune system, it can also have direct effects on the body. It can attack the brain cells and affects its functions.
Are people with HIV/AIDS more likely to get a cold?
The answer is yes. As explained above, HIV affects the body’s immune system that fights minor conditions like the colds and flu. With the body’s immune system weakened, it cannot defend the body against organisms causing colds like that of a person not infected with HIV.
If it’s just the common cold, one may not be worried. However, with the advanced weakened state of the immune system, the person may likely develop cold complications like pneumonia. It is therefore important for people with HIV/AIDS to be knowledgeable of the causes and treatments for colds.
Prevention of Colds
Prevention is always better than cure. This is the best reminder for people with HIV/AIDS. The following guidelines can help reduce the chance of the person with HIV/AIDS contract colds:
- Good hygiene must be maintained to reduce the chance of getting sick.
- Talk to family and friends about prevention. If they are sick, then it is best to avoid. If this cannot be done, the sick person should cover their mouths when they cough. Frequent hand washing is also recommended. Also advise the sick person to avoid rubbing their eyes, nose or mouth and then touching surfaces that the HIV-infected person may be touching.
- It is recommended that antibacterial cleaner or mild bleach solutions are used regularly on household items.
- Consult the doctors about flu vaccination for the HIV-infected person, and also family and friends that may have constant contact with the person with HIV.
When the person with HIV/AIDS has already contracted cold systems, the following guidelines are helpful:
- Contact your doctor immediately. The doctor will recommend treatments for the cold symptoms so that complications like pneumonia can be avoided.
- The HIV-infected person must drink plenty of fluids for hydration.
- The person should also be fed even when they do not have appetites.
- The person should also sleep and rest frequently so that the body can recover quickly.
Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome also known as AIDS has been a growing controversy and issue because it had drastically increased in the past few years. More and more people are affected by AIDS and it has also infected children. In 1995, AIDS was reported to be the number one cause of death at the United States. Recently, it is now ranked as the sixth cause of death.
AIDS is the last stage of Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV. A person who has HIV does not necessarily have AIDS. AIDS occurs when the so-called “helper cell” decreases to a certain number. The effect of AIDS towards our immune system is dangerous. It leaves our body compromised making us more susceptible to other viruses that can cause more infections. Aside from that, it can aggravate some diseases and make it worse.
What makes AIDS alarming is that it could be transferred from person to person via body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk. Having sexual contact (oral, vaginal or anal sex), sharing needles, using infected needles, and blood transfusion are ways in which spread of the virus could occur. Organ donation from an AIDS patient could also transmit the disease. Even a mother infected with AIDS could transfer the disease to her child by their shared blood circulation or via breast milk.
Usually a person can live years without knowing that they are infected. Without knowledge that they are infected, they could spread the infection to others. Symptoms of the diseases itself does not exist. But they are more prone to other infections which may manifest clinically like chills, fever, rashes, swollen lymph glands, weakness and weight loss.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for AIDS. Medical practitioners will address the symptoms of associated infections. Here we have listed the three (3) most common treatments for AIDS.
1. Antiretroviral Therapy
The concept behind antiretroviral therapy or some call it highly active antiretroviral therapy or HAART is suppressing or hindering the replication of HIV within the body using a combination of antiretroviral drugs. This treatment also gives the body a chance to increase the number of “helper cells” and T-cells to combat infections.
The main key for success of this treatment relies on patient compliance. Patients who do not comply with the recommended dosage and time of medication will develop resistance to the drugs which may lead to treatment failure. Once resistance to a medication occurs, a new drug combination will be used.
Another problem with this method of treatment is the development of side effects. Some side effects are: collection of fats on the back and abdomen, diarrhea, malaise, headache, nausea and weakness.
This treatment did not stop the spread of virus but it did help prevent people with HIV to develop AIDS.
2. Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTI)
Another treatment option for AIDS would be Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors where in the drugs attempt prevent other cells from being infected by HIV.
For HIV to spread within the body there is a need to propagate the cells by infecting healthy cells which is done by replicating its RNA with the person’s DNA. When a person takes these “non-nucleosides” or some call it “non-nukes” it prevents the whole process of replicating itself thus preventing the spread of the virus within the body.
Examples of these drugs are Delevaridine, Efravirenz, and Nevirapine. It could be used with antiretroviral drugs.
Researches are still being done for this method of treatment.
3. Fusion Inhibitors
Fusion Inhibitors, as the name implies, are a group of drugs that will inhibit the virus from fusing or combining with human cells. In other words, the concept of this treatment is inhibiting fusion of the virus and human cell. A well-known drug for this group is Enfuvirtide or Fuzeon or T20.
To learn more about this drug and other related AIDS article, you could visit this website: http://www.aidsmeds.com/
As of today, there is no known absolute treatment for AIDS. All these treatments are to prevent the spread of the virus within the body. There is still no known way to kill the virus. The best way to prevent it from spreading from individuals is by prevention.