HIV or human immunodeficiency virus is the prelude to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). It is an incurable disease, but it can be treated so the patients can live a long life. It is thought that 40,000 Americans are infected with this virus every year.
HIV typically spreads three different ways:
1. Sexual intercourse with a person who has HIV.
2. Using an infected needle or a syringe. This is the reason why so many drug addicts have the disease.
3. HIV can spread to infants from their mothers during childbirth or when nursing.
Many people who are infected are not sick and don’t even know they have the virus for over 10 years. So a person can transmit the disease to other people without knowing it. There aren’t usually any early symptoms of HIV. To diagnose HIV a person has to give a blood test. The development of antibodies that show you are infected can take from two weeks to few months. But the person can transmit the virus almost instantly once he has it.
There is no actual cure for HIV, but it is a virus a person can live with. The most widely used HIV treatment is the antiretroviral drug treatment. This drug treatment delays the HIV into developing into AIDS. This treatment stops the virus from destroying the persons immune system. According to the NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases) there are currently 31 antiretroviral drugs approved for treatment. It is important to understand that the individual who takes the drugs can still spread the virus to others.
Like any other treatments, the drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS may cause many complications and difficult side effects. Patients should be very aware of possible side effects when taking antiretroviral drugs. It is very important that the person tells all the concerns regarding the treatment to his doctor.
It is extremely important to take the medication consistently and right on time. It is known that HIV can become resistant to the drugs when a patient fails to take their prescribed medications consistently.
The first drug patients usually get for treatment is called Atripla. It is one of the easiest drugs and shows great results. Atripla is taken once every day.
When you start taking the medicine at first you may feel pretty ill and foggy. Over a period of time you should adjust to the side effects and you should feel better. When you start taking medication you should specially pay close attention on what you eat. Fatty foods are known to increase the side effects. Some people even experience vivid dreams.
While Atripla is tolerated by most people, some may have troubles adjusting with it. It is recommended to stick with it because the side effects will ease up with time.