The Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV is similar to other viruses such as the flu because there is no known cure for them. But, the biggest difference is that it weakens your immune system, exposing you to other diseases, and makes sicknesses like the common flu fatal, if a patient is not careful. Once you contract it, you have it for life.
Fortunately, medicine has come a long way; multiple drugs that treat HIV are circulating in the market and even extending the lives of patients.
Medication for HIV
In 2013, Canada reported 2,090 cases of HIV, a 0.4% decrease from the 2,099 cases in 2012. It is also the lowest number of yearly HIV cases since 1985. The decline of HIV cases is due in part to more information about the disease, better prevention methods and medication.
One of the biggest breakthroughs is antiretroviral therapy or ART, which changed HIV treatment in the past years. These drugs deal with the virus in various ways, but it does not cure a patient completely; it represses the production and spread of the virus.
Viral load is the primary measure that doctors use when treating HIV. It is the amount of the virus in the bloodstream. The aim of ART is to reduce the viral load at a level that even tests cannot detect its presence at all. It does not cure patients from the virus, it is still there, but it is not substantial enough to lead to symptoms and cause problems.
As long as patients continue the medication, they will remain symptom-free. People can stay healthy and extend their lives with drugs such as Atripla. Canada and the US lead the countries pushing for more developments in the field of HIV medication research.
Atripla combines three drugs, namely efavirenz, tenofovir and emtricitabine, all of which are potent in treating HIV. The drug works by hampering the reproduction of HIV in the body.
What You Need to Know About Treatment
Medication is easier to take now, as patients just need to take one pill per day. These pills contain all the things people need to fight HIV. Patients also have several options on which drug combinations to take. If one does not work or leads to side effects, change prescriptions.
The development of medication has given HIV patients have more options and will deal with fewer side effects.