New Single Pill Treatment Not Available For HIV
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, has long been thought of as a one-way ticket to AIDS, but recent breakthroughs in medical research have made it possible for many HIV patients to live full, and otherwise healthy lives without ever contracting full AIDS. As of now there is still no cure for the virus, and it can be continuously passed through blood, semen, and other sexual fluids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention write: “HIV attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells (T cells), which help the immune system fight off infections. Untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body, making the person more likely to get other infections or infection-related cancers. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease.”
Treatments are constantly being researched and developed to better treat this illness, and while in the past medications included various pills, a new tablet on the market is now offering HIV patients a one treatment method of handling symptoms and containing the virus.
Unlike other autoimmune diseases, which can be backtracked once treatment begins, HIV must be treated as soon as possible if an individual wants to avoid AIDS. This means taking medication as soon as a diagnosis is made, and continuing for the rest of his or her life. Medical News Today explains: “Estimates suggest around 1.2 million Americans aged 13 and over know they have HIV, and more than 150,000 others are infected but do not know it. In the last 10 years, the annual number of new HIV infections has remained relatively stable. HIV-1 is the predominant strain of HIV that causes the vast majority of HIV infections worldwide. When people refer to HIV, they usually mean HIV-1.”
Before this medication was around, those who received a positive diagnosis for the virus were guaranteed to be infected with AIDS within a few short years. Now, with medication, HIV patients can lead long lives with no fear of ever contracting the more advanced virus.
Diagnosing HIV can be tricky, as some individuals may show no signs at all of having contracted the virus, while others may have mild or severe symptoms. This can include a number of different physical and mental symptoms, such as fatigue, a desire to be alone and do nothing, a red itchy rash which covers the trunk, neck, or limbs of the body, and even flu symptoms. Amanda Gardner of Health.com reports: “Within a month or two of HIV entering the body, 40% to 90% of people experience flulike symptoms known as acute retroviral syndrome (ARS). But sometimes HIV symptoms don’t appear for years—sometimes even a decade—after infection.”
Unfortunately, flu symptoms aren’t common in every case, and when they are, it can be easily mistaken for the common cold. This makes it crucial that men and women continue to be checked regularly, and use protection with sexual partners to avoid possibly contracting the virus. When individuals do find symptoms, or feel that HIV might be a concern, they should immediately seek medical attention for testing and diagnosis so that treatment can begin.
The Latest Medicine
The new single tablet medication for HIV-1 can be taken by individuals as young as twelve years of age. It can also be taken by patients who have been diagnosed but have already halted and suppressed symptoms. It was developed after rigorous testing, using more than 3,000 subjects, and containing an ingredient which hasn’t been approved for human use in the past.
The new drug might be convenient in the sense that it reduces the number of ongoing medications necessary to keep symptoms at bay and reduce the risk of AIDS, but isn’t without side effects. Some of the negative sensations felt following the drug include nausea, headaches, and kidney malfunction, along with some other dietary issues. These side effects are minimal in comparison to some more extreme forms of treatment, but must still be taken into consideration when choosing a medication.
For this reason, those individuals who already suffer from poor kidneys my not be eligible for the drug. Children younger than 12, or adults who have already progressed to heightened levels of HIV may also be unable to obtain positive results from using this form of treatment. Your doctor will be able to go over your eligibility and discuss other possible treatment options with you following diagnosis.
The search for a cure for HIV and AIDS is ongoing and although there has been promise with the continual successes of new treatments, the hope is that one day there will be a cure. Until then diagnosed individuals must do their best to keep hopes high, and continue taking treatments prescribed by physicians to keep the virus from progressing.
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