Is HIV curable if caught early?
There is no cure for HIV yet. Antiretroviral treatment can, however, control the infection limiting the virus multiplication in the body. With proper treatment, people with HIV can lead long and healthy lives. Treatment lowers the viral load (concentration of the virus in the blood), which not only protects the person from progressing into an advanced stage of the disease but also reduces the chances of transmission of the virus to others.
It is important to get tested for HIV in the early stages of infection to minimize the damage to the immune system. Successful treatment aims to reduce HIV load to a level that is harmless to the body. However, some of the viruses may persist. Trials are underway for getting a safe and effective HIV vaccine.
Can HIV be cured naturally?
HIV cannot be treated or managed without proper medical therapy. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as a person is exposed to a potential risk of HIV infection. This will facilitate early diagnosis and treatment. It can be dangerous to seek non-scientific and unapproved treatment approaches as it may lead to disease progression. This will make the management more difficult and may even lead to fatal complications.
Are HIV and AIDS the same?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. If someone has HIV, it means that they have been diagnosed with the HIV infection. AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome); however, is the most advanced or final stage of the HIV infection and is characterized by:
- A damaged immune system with low CD4 cells (a type of white blood cells that fight infections) counts in the blood.
- High HIV load (viral concentration) in the blood.
- Opportunistic infections: These are infections that occur more frequently or are more severe in people with weakened immune systems than in people with healthy immune systems.
- In the absence of treatment, people with AIDS rarely survive beyond three years.
The symptoms of AIDS are:
- Rapid loss of weight
- Sore throat
- Thrush (a thick, white coating on the tongue or mouth due to a fungal infection)
- Severe and recurrent yeast infections
- Genital sores and foul discharge
- Frequent infections
- Bruising more easily than normal
- Night sweats
- Cough with or without blood in sputum
- Swellings in the neck, armpits and groins (lymph nodes)
- Mouth ulcers
- Skin rashes
- Bleeding from the mouth, nose, anus, or vagina
Can the spread of HIV from the mother to the baby be prevented during pregnancy?
If the mother is HIV positive, mother to child transmission during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding is possible. This spread of infection from the mother to her child is called perinatal transmission of HIV. The rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is one percent or less in the United States and Europe, due to treatment strategies. These strategies are:
- Giving antiretroviral therapy (ART) to the mother: HIV medicines prevent the virus from multiplying. This reduces the amount of HIV in the body (the viral load). The decreased viral load minimizes the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV during pregnancy and childbirth. Besides reducing the mother’s viral load, some HIV medicines can pass from the pregnant woman to her unborn baby through the placenta. This protects the baby from any exposure to HIV, especially during vaginal delivery.
- Cesarean delivery: A scheduled or elective cesarean delivery can reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in women who have a high or unknown viral load near the time of delivery.
- HIV medicines for the baby: ART initiated in the newborn soon after birth further reduces the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, post-delivery.
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How Long Does It Take to See Signs of HIV?The signs and symptoms of HIV may first appear within two to four weeks of infection. The stage in which the symptoms appear is called the stage of acute HIV infection. The symptoms appear due to the resistance or fight of the immune system against HIV. Early diagnosis and treatment of HIV gets the best results.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection left untreated causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Still incurable, AIDS describes immune system collapse that opens the way for opportunistic infections and cancers to kill the patient.
- Early symptoms and signs of HIV infection include flu-like symptoms and fungal infections, but some people may not show any symptoms for years.
- Highly active antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the standard treatment for HIV infection. These combination drug regimens have made HIV much less deadly, but a cure or vaccine for the pandemic remains out of reach.
- HIV is usually transmitted through sexual contact or sharing IV drug needles, but can also infect someone through contact with infected blood.
- Sexual abstinence, safe sex practices, quitting IV drugs (or at least using clean needles), and proper safety equipment by clinicians and first responders can drastically reduce transmission rates for HIV/AIDS.
What Are NRTIs in Antiretroviral Therapy For HIV Infection?Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. NRTIs were the first drugs developed to manage HIV and remain a mainstay of antiretroviral therapy (ART) combinations. HIV progressively weakens the immune system, leading to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), when the body is no longer able to fight infection effectively. HIV has no cure and can only be controlled by lifelong medication.
How do protease inhibitors work in antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection?Protease inhibitors are one of the classes of drugs in the combination of drugs used for antiretroviral therapy (ART) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Protease inhibitors may be one class of drugs included in the ART cocktail for HIV to prevent its progression into AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), which may cause death from secondary infection or cancer after the collapse of the immune system.
What Are NNRTIs In Antiretroviral Therapy for HIV Infection?Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are one of the classes of drugs that form part of the antiretroviral therapy (ART) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. An NNRTI drug may be part of a cocktail of ART drugs that each target HIV at different points in its replication cycle to help lower the level of virus in the body and prevent HIV from causing AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). AIDS may lead to death from secondary infections after immune system collapse.
What Are the Side Effects of HIV Medications?It’s important to know the potential side effects of all the drugs you take to control your HIV infection, as well as potential drug interactions. All of the NNRTIs (nonnucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors), for example, are associated with important drug-drug interactions so they must be used with caution in patients on other medications. Learn more about the side effects of the drugs in standard treatment regimens.
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What ART Drugs Prevent HIV Entry into the Human Immune Cell?Three classes of drugs developed to treat HIV/AIDS work by preventing entry of the human immunodeficiency virus into the immune cells, preventing the virus from replicating and destroying the immune system. These classes (which are typically combined with two or more other HIV drugs) include fusion inhibitors, chemokine receptor antagonist (CCR5 antagonist) and Post-attachment inhibitor (entry inhibitor).