Every year, 1 December is observed as World AIDS Day in order to increase awareness around Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) epidemic, to speak against its stigma, and to draw attention to the failures that have led to making HIV a global health crisis.
HIV attacks the immune cells of our body, making the body vulnerable and increasing the risk of contracting other diseases. It can spread from one person to another through contact with certain bodily fluids of a person. Untreated HIV can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
There is no effective cure of HIV till now, but several medical and non-medical treatments have proved to be helpful to HIV patients. Here are some treatment methods to follow if one is diagnosed with the infection-
Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) is the medicine taken for HIV treatment. The medicine helps in lowering the amount of HIV infection in the blood, also known as viral load.
Medical treatment of HIV involves keeping the viral load low in the body, along with checking that the CD4 cell count is high. The suppression of viral load means having less than 200 copies of HIV in per milliliter of blood.
Regular check-ups and proper intake of medicines will help in detecting HIV copies in the blood. If the copies reach below the 200-milliliter count, it means that the HIV treatment is working.
Taking medicines for HIV can lead to side effects also, such as nausea, fatigue and diarrhea. These side effects can be combated by consulting your health care provider regarding the issue and taking nutrient pills to boost immunity.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM):
These medications or therapies can be used in combination with medical treatment to counter HIV conditions. Yoga, massage therapies and meditation have proved to be effective in treating overall feelings of anxiety and depression in HIV patients.
Research has also found that acupuncture, the medical practice of placing needles onto various pressure points of the body, can also release body chemicals and give relief in pain.
Many HIV patients take milk thistle, a herb used to improve liver functions, as it does not interact with antivirals. However, there has been no concrete evidence that herbal medicines can reduce HIV symptoms.
Supplements are an essential part of HIV treatment since they support the immunity system. Calcium and Vitamin D improves bone health whereas fish oil helps in cholesterol reduction. Vitamin B-12 supplements are taken by pregnant women suffering from HIV and soy proteins are also taken to help in covering weight loss. Tablets of the mineral selenium can also be taken to improve metabolic functions of the body and to slow HIV progression.