D R . E L R O I

A PERSONAL JOURNAL OF A MAN LIVING WITH HIV

Friday, June 6, 2008

HIV Treatment Options Part 2

Treatment Options

In the same manner it is also important to know that HIV can also be managed. Remember this virus weakens the immune system which is responsible for the body's defense against other diseases and infections. With a proactive approach to treatment we need to aim at reducing the negative impact of the virus as far as possible. How can this be done? First is strengthening the immune system, treating all opportunistic infections and lastly, the use of ARV or antiretroviral treatment or therapy.

Strengthening the immune system, since HIV weakens it we need to look at healthy habits that can strengthen the immune system. Eating properly and healthy foods, getting enough rest and exercise, reducing stress levels in our lives and avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption amongst others do indeed have a positive impact on our general health. The body can further be strengthened by specific multivitamins and immune boosters which should be taken in consultation with a health practitioner or doctor. These general healthy habits do in fact apply to all people who wish to take proper care of their bodies regardless if you are HIV positive or negative. The best time to implement these habits in your life is today!

Treat all opportunistic infections. Although there is no cure for HIV infections the majority of minor opportunistic infections can be healed. Therefore it is very important to treat the symptoms of all opportunistic infections as soon as it appears. This is to limit the damage it can cause to your body and to relieve you from the symptoms. A simple cold and sore throat could lead to meningitis. Untreated flu could lead to bronchitis or pneumonia. These are chances an HIV positive person should not take.

Antiretroviral treatment or ARV or ART, despite our attempts to strengthen the immune system and to keep the body generally healthy, there does come a time when the immune system is not strong enough to provide sufficient protection to the body and then it is advised that people should start taking ARVs. It's a strong medication that directly attacks the virus in the body and suppresses the multiplication of the virus in the body. With fewer viruses (lower viral load) the attack on the CD4 cells is reduced and this gives the CD4 cells the opportunity to recover and multiply again. A higher CD4 count implies a stronger immune system.

I will discuss more about ARV in the future for there's lot to talk about this.

Note: Information was excerpt from the "Channels of Hope" manual.

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