AIDS (HIV): treatments

The treatment of AIDS has several dimensions: the preventive and curative treatment of "opportunistic" infections, vaccinations against certain infections, and finally antiretroviral treatment against HIV.

Antiretroviral treatment (so called because HIV is part of the retrovirus category) is the treatment that reduces the viral load in the body, and slow down the course of the disease. These treatments, often in combination, are indicated at the AIDS stage of the disease, or when the immune defenses are frankly weakened.

Today antiretroviral treatments are more effective, but do not cure the disease (HIV viruses remain in the body, although they are much less numerous - viral load decreased). These drugs, however, extend the survival of patients considerably. These are heavy treatments, difficult to accept, and with side effects. However, the tolerance for treatment is improving year by year thanks to the progress of research.

The earlier the disease is treated, the better it will be afterwards.
The treatment of AIDS or an HIV-positive person is the job of a medical specialist (infectious diseases), even if the general practitioner can ensure the medical supervision of the patient, and provide part of its care. In addition to anti-HIV treatment, the doctor must also treat opportunistic infections, the harmful effects of anti-HIV drugs, etc.

Anyone who may have taken a risk (needle exchange, unprotected sex, etc.) should be screened.

When a risk has been taken (exposure to contaminated blood, unprotected sexual intercourse with a person at risk, exchange of contaminated needles, etc.), it is possible to take preventive treatment within 48 hours. In such a situation, it is advisable to go to the emergency room of a hospital. A doctor will assess with you the risk of HIV infection. Will then be taken, or not, the decision of antiretroviral treatment of a duration of 4 weeks. This treatment is only useful if it is started within 48 hours of the risk situation. Checks will be made after the treatment.

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