Treatment for HIV:Possible?

Treatment for HIV remains elusive in this day and age. Reason being that HIV as we know by now is a virus that mutates very rapidly.

This mutation leads to a change in the components of the viral structure that make it difficult for any medication or treatment to be administered as a cure.

As we mark the 2011 world AIDS day, it is quite sad to still have instances where persons infected with HIV continue to die or suffer from the side effects of this incurable disease

Treatment for HIV: No progress made?

HIV like any other virus survives in one’s body by making copies of its self in an individual’s blood stream.

HIV treatment has been tried out for decades now by scientists trying to develop vaccines to prevent new infections, and/or drugs to totally eradicate this virus from one’s system. This has however not resulted in any significant changes, due to the following reasons:

  • The rapid change in the HIV genetic material  has made it impossible for scientists to come up with the right medication
  • Those infected with HIV continue to engage in un-protective sexual relations with other PLWHA. These associations have been known to contribute to the cross-transfer of strains from one HIV positive person to the next
  • The high costs involved in conduction studies to establish the best treatment to be developed

The above factors have now seen a rise in cases of individuals who can only be placed on life prolonging therapy, also referred to as ARVs given there is no treatment for HIV.

HIV Treatment using ARVs

Antiretroviral therapy(ARVs) was introduced to help fight off HIV in two broad ways:

  • Stop replication of the HIV infected cells
  • Literally stopping HIV from invading body cells

There have been more that 15 ARVs developed over the years. Given the fact that ARVs cannot be self-prescribed or purchased off the counter, it is recommended that all those infected with HIV visit a health care provider for assessments of:

  • Their viral load-this helps establish the amount of the virus in the blood stream
  • Their CD4 count to see how well one’s immune system is functioning
  • The overall health status

That said, it is worth noting that there still remains no cure for HIV, this is so because the virus if left alone persistently attacks one’s white blood cells which are of great importance in promoting resistance to infections.

It is with this in mind, that persons tested HIV positive ought to be put on ARVs to help slow down the virus.

However, no single ARV can achieve this, hence reason why individuals receive two or more drugs to help slow down resistance. The first group of drugs one is given is referred to FIRST LINE drugs. Resistance to this line of drugs necessitates that an individual be put on the SECOND line drug.

Treatment for HIV: What is required?

ARVs as mentioned above only slow down the replication the virus. Hence reason for individuals to examine their ability to adhere to the drugs once prescribed.

Individuals infected with HIV can only benefit from the existing treatment for HIV by being committed to taking these lifelong drugs and observe doctor appointments as scheduled

While there is not treatment for HIV, we still need to look for ways of preventing AIDS from happening in those already HIV positive


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World AIDS Day 2011: Commitments Made

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