AIDS is a serious infectious disease caused by HIV virus, which damages the immune system. If a person is infected, it is harder for him/her to fight other infections. The disease was discovered in 1983 in the US. Today it is widespread in many countries. There is an international medical organization called AIDS Care Education and Training that takes care of AIDS patients across Europe, Africa and Asia, America and Australia. This paper discusses the potential cause of the disease, the basic treatment, and the general outcomes of the treatment.
AIDS damages not only the immune system, but also other systems of the human body. Thus, respiratory, nervous, gastrointestinal and skin systems undergo severe impact. This disease is incurable, but symptoms and negative effects can be treated. Additionally, people can prevent the spread and complications caused by the disease. As to the immune system, AIDS destroys the CD4 cells and white blood cells that fight illnesses. In this case, a person experiences fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, and weight loss and skin rash. HIV develops into AIDS, causing the lung disease to have severe complications. If the respiratory system is affected, pneumocystis pneumonia or tuberculosis can occur. The patient experiences the shortness of breath, fever, and dry cough. If the patient is sick with the lung diseases, he/she has mucus secreted and in serious cases, can face hemoptysis. When a person has AIDS, his or her immune system is weak, and the bacteria and viruses infect the nervous system. It is connected with dementia, lymphoma, and toxoplasmosis. A person suffers from headaches, his/her thinking becomes slow, the memory worsens. Moreover, the coordination and behavior are also affected. People with AIDS more often have gastrointestinal problems. They suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, pain in the abdomen and weight loss. Additionally, gastrointestinal bleeding appears. About half of AIDS patients face the discomfort caused by the disease.
Many healthy people have skin diseases, but those with AIDS due to the weak immune system find it difficult to treat these illnesses. Common skin diseases include dermatitis, psoriasis, and hives. They can be treated with medications. Additionally, AIDS can affect the development of skin cancer. This type of cancer is known as Kaposi’s sarcoma and is considered a rare form. Lesions or tumors on the skin are the main symptoms. Moreover, an ordinary virus can cause major skin lesions in the perineum and perianal areas. Skin lesions in people with AIDS can appear as side effects of medications. Usually such small lesions do not require the suspension of treatment. However, severe skin complications are possible such as erythroderma and Stevens-Jones syndrome. Moreover, the backdrop of infection increases sensitivity to radiation that can cause burns. Thus, AIDS affects almost every system in the human body.
There are several ways of HIV transmission. First, the disease is transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person. A person can get infected while having unprotected oral, vaginal and anal sex and while using sex toys together with the sick person. These are the most common ways of HIV transmission. Second, the infection can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth. There is also a danger of getting sick while breastfeeding. Third, there is a risk of HIV infection during the blood transfusion. Today this rate is low because the institutions test and verify the blood before using it. Moreover, drug users face a high risk of infection due to the practice to share syringes that contain HIV infection. Moreover, persons who deal with piercings and tattoos have to be careful as their job is connected with blood.
Today the situation is disappointing. Millions of people get infected and die every year, leaving many children without parents. The big problem is the fact that about 90% of HIV infected people are young people of working age and who are able to have children. Moreover, the number of AIDS patients among pregnant women and possible donors has also increased. The problem is that not all people understand the danger of the AIDS disease. Many of infected people live an active life, and continue to be the carriers of the AIDS.
Nowadays many drugs have appeared aimed to fight HIV infection and infections connected with it, as well as cancer. They are called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Often people call them ART. The application of these drugs has reduced the number of complications and deaths associated with HIV and AIDS. Nevertheless, it is impossible to cure AIDS, but medications can help control the condition and avoid the aggravation of the disease. Proper treatment depends on the diagnosis. Nowadays, there are many ways to treat AIDS, what suggests that humanity is in a much better condition than it has been a few years ago. As a result, sick people live long life and do not experience any discomfort. Drugs keep the low level of virus in blood and slow its progress. There are several types of drugs, which fight HIV. Each of these anti-HIV drugs works in its own way. Most people are treated with least three types of drugs. Such therapy is called combined. There is also another name: Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) or Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART). The combination of drugs is the best way to treat HIV infection. People with such disease need to be in touch with their doctor to decide when to start treatment and agree on the drugs and dosage. The therapy plan depends on three main factors, including the willingness and the desire of the patient to start treatment, the severity of the disease, and the general state of health of the patient. A successful treatment means taking medicine exactly as it is prescribed. This will help prevent the virus from becoming resistant to drugs. If the patient missed the adoption of drugs at least once, the virus could become resistant to this treatment. To monitor the treatment process the patient should regularly take the blood test. At the beginning, he/she tests the blood for the virus. With effective treatment, viral load will decrease. Moreover, the number of CD4 cells will increase. If the patient feels bad or there is a threat of infection, he/she should always take the blood test to control therapy. HIV drugs help people fight infections. Their main task is to control the growth of the virus, improve the work of the immune system, slow the progression of symptoms or even stop them, and reduce the number of side effects. There are five classes of anti-HIV drugs, including protease inhibitors (atazanavir, fosamprenavir, lopinavir, darunavir, indinavir, ritonavir and tipranavir), nucleoside or nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (abacavir, lamivudine, didanosine, emtricitabine, stavudineand tenofovir), entry or fusion inhibitors (enfuvirtide), non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (etravirine, nevirapine, rilpivirine and efavirenz) and integrase inhibitors (raltegravir). There is also a drug called cobicistat. It is designed to enhance the effect of antiviral drugs, but it does not have any impact on the virus itself. When a person suffers from Kaposi’s sarcoma, the radiation therapy is involved. Attempts to restore the immune system include the bone marrow transplantation and the introduction of compatible transplant antigens by lymphocytes. Opportunistic infections in AIDS are treatable with antibiotics and sulphonamides. Patients with HIV virus who have already started their treatment must take medication for the rest of their life in order to keep the immune system healthy and under control. Moreover, a person is protected against the spread of infection.
Everyone who has HIV infection should take antiviral medications. Treatment of HIV is important for patients who have severe symptoms. Moreover, people need therapy when the number of CD4 is below 350. Additionally, it is useful to undergo a therapy, when the patient has an opportunistic infection, has been treated for hepatitis B or C or it is a pregnant woman.
In the recent years, taking AIDS drugs has become easier. The pharmacists have combined the three medicines in one tablet, so the patient has to take it once a day. Most people can afford such treatment, and for them, it is effective with minimal side effects. Some of them find it difficult to take medication every day. Besides, they can have serious side effects. Sometimes the drug can be less effective or even lose its medicinal properties. Common side effects are the weakness and headache. Other include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, high blood sugar, mood changes, depression, and anxiety, trouble sleeping. Additionally, bones become weaker. Sometimes heart disease, abnormal cholesterol levels, and muscle tissue destruction appear. The patient can get rid of milder side effects after the body gets used to the medication. Some of them a person can treat by himself or herself. When the patient has no appetite, he is suggested eat several times a day but have smaller portions. Additionally, it is useful to drink smoothies and take supplements and appetite stimulants. If the patient who suffers from AIDS experiences diarrhea, he or she needs to eat less fatty foods, dairy products, raw vegetables and nuts. Fatigue is a symptom of HIV. Eating nutritious food that gives more energy, exercising and avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption can help fight this inconvenience. Such side effect as rash causes a lot of trouble. The patient should moisturize his or her skin every day, use cool or warm water, be attentive when choosing powder, and wear clothes made of cotton. If side effects do not go away, the doctor prescribes other medications. For aging people, it is hard to treat the disease, since they have age-related health problems. Some medications for heart and bones appointed for general treatment can have a bad interaction with AIDS drugs. Although drugs cannot cure AIDS, they are effective because they allow people to live the life they used to have. After the invention of drugs for HIV treatment, AIDS mortality has fallen significantly. New drugs are more effective than drugs that have been used in the past. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of antiviral drugs is insufficient. Despite the treatment of infections, they often recur.
Antiretroviral drugs are working to stop HIV from multiplying. The number of viruses in human’s body decreases. Moreover, the immune system becomes strong again. Reducing the viral load provides protection from getting the infection. Antiretroviral medicines work in various ways but have a common aim. Most of them block a certain protein that is essential for the spread of the disease. Additionally, entry or fusion inhibitors do not allow HIV to penetrate the CD4 cells.
The outcomes of the treatment have been improved in recent years, but it still depends on many factors. The most important ones are patient’s cooperation with the doctor and drug treatment. As it has been already mentioned, AIDs and HIV virus cannot be cured but it can be deadly without treatment. Before the invention of treatment for this virus, people lived only a few years. Fortunately, treatment has improved the situation. With the help of prevention, doctors reduced the HIV and AIDS infection in young children. In future, it is expected to reduce the spread of other infections among the population. HIV virus needs a long time to develop into AIDS. Sometimes it can take from six months to fifteen years. In the UK, the time of development of AIDS is twelve years. ART makes human life longer. Moreover, people with AIDS can live for decades if they follow the recommendations of their doctor and undergo a proper treatment. Today, more people have a normal life expectancy when they follow the right lifestyle. Medicines restore the immune system and fight infections. Moreover, it can prevent the development of cancer. Some factors can prevent the positive outcome of treatment of people with HIV infection or AIDS. Thus, the low number of CD4 cells means that the patient has a weak immune system. It can cause the development of infection, which can threat a person’s life. Moreover, negative outcomes may result from a large number of viral proteins in blood. It is worth noticing that the age of the patient plays an important role in the recovery process. Small children and old people experience faster progression of the disease and face a poor prognosis. Additionally, it is difficult to treat people with concomitant diseases. Thus, people who suffer from hepatitis B or C virus, heart and liver disease are more likely to have the poor outcomes. Drug users also belong to this category. The result of outcomes of the treatment is different for each patient and depends on his or her reaction to the drugs. Many symptoms of the disease are caused by opportunistic infections. A person with a healthy immune system will not face such nuances. Scientists have investigated an effective HIV vaccine for over 30 years. To this date, the effective drugs for the treatment of HIV infection have not been invented. Research and development of vaccines is an ongoing process nowadays.
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The longevity of life depends on the person and treatment, and can last for years. HIV and AIDS can affect the physical health. Additionally, it can change mental and social life of a person. Opinions of other people, as well as political and social surrounding, affect the quality of life. Humanity condemns people with HIV infection and AIDS. However, the UK government issued a law that protects people from discrimination in employment, education, housing and other areas. Living conditions also affect the quality of life. HIV positive people have a much lower housing. Lack of funds is a common problem of the patients. Nevertheless, mental health of the patients has a serious impact on the well-being. For them, the emotional support is as important as treatment. Often people lose interest in life after diagnosis. They question how they will live. Moreover, the question of death appears. HIV infected stop enjoying life and live with constant disappointment. However, when a person receives the successful treatment, he or she has hope, which improves the emotional state. Thus, the impact of the disease and its treatment are complex issues.
AIDS is a serious incurable disease, but new ways of treatment continues to develop and improve the life of patients. The disease is transmitted primarily through blood and semen, so people need to be careful to avoid the infections. Additionally, treatment is a complex process and can cause various side effects that disappear when the body is used to a drug or a patient does not follow the correct regime. Certainly, the quality of life and longevity of people with AIDS depends on their attitude to the disease. Timely and correct treatment will allow the patient to live a full life, as it is possible.