Care and Prevention for HIV
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Care and Prevention for HIV

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes severe damage to the immune system which leads to AIDS

AIDS means acquired immune deficiency syndrome and is the final stage of the infection caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The virus causes severe damage to the immune system. During the initial stages of infection, a person may experience a brief period of influenza-like illness. This is typically followed by a prolonged period without symptoms. Over time, the virus attacks the immune system leaving the individual susceptible to opportunistic and life-threatening infections that usually do not cause serious disease in people with healthy immune systems. HIV is primarily contracted through the exchange of body fluids often via unprotected sexual intercourse, contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. There is no cure or vaccine; however, antiretroviral treatment can slow the course of the disease and may lead to a near-normal life expectancy.

1. Treatment and Care

People infected with HIV can live longer, healthy and normal lives with the use of antiretroviral (AVR) treatment. A standard treatment for HIV patients consists of combination therapy of multiple antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress and stop the progression of the HIV into AIDS. The aim of antiretroviral treatment is to keep the amount of HIV in the body at a low level. This stops any weakening of the immune system and allows it to recover from any damage that HIV might have caused already. There are several classes of antiretroviral agents that act on different stages of the HIV life-cycle. While antiretroviral treatment reduces the risk of death and complications from the disease, it is important to note that they also have negative side effects.

2. Prevention

The main medium of getting infected HIV is through contact with the blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, or breast milk from a person infected with HIV. The possibility of getting infected with HIV is real, but you can take steps to protect yourself by getting tested to know your HIV status; discuss with your partner about HIV testing and get tested before you have sex; maintain single sex partner and ensure you engage in protected sex (using condoms) if you have more than one partner; If you have more than one sexual partner, get tested for HIV regularly; Get tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and insist that your partners do, too. Having an STI can increase your risk of becoming infected with HIV; Abstain from using injectable drugs. But if you do, ensure the syringes and drug injection equipment are sterile and not shared with others. You can live longer with just few acts of wisdom and restrain.