AIDS Treatment Abroad

HIV/AIDS - Chronic Diseases

AIDS Treatment Abroad

HIV/AIDS Treatment Abroad

 

Understanding AIDS

AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is a disease caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). The virus affects the immune system making the body an easy target for diseases and infections. AIDS is the final stage of the HIV infection, the moment when the body is too weak to fight life-threatening infections.  

HIV is a fragile virus which does not livelong outside the body. The virus can be found in the body fluids: semen, blood, anal and vaginal fluids, breast milk, but not in the urine or sweat. The most common way of getting infected with HIV is through unprotected sex.


Ways of getting infected with HIV

  • Using a contaminated needle or injecting equipment
  • Any type of unprotected sex and also sharing sexual toys
  • From an infected mother to her child during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
  • Blood transfusion with contaminated blood


HIV Symptoms

Almost 80% of people who got infected with HIV experience the seroconversion illness, which is similar to the flu and occurs two to six weeks after infection. The most common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Body rash
  • Sore throat
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Swollen glands

After these initial symptoms, the virus might become silent for many years. This period is known as the asymptomatic HIV infection and can last for about 10 years. Although the virus will continue to spread and damage the immune system, the infected person will feel and appear well. Left untreated, the infection will continue to develop and lead to the late-stage HIV infection or AIDS. At this stage the body is exposed to life threatening illnesses such as pneumonia, TBC or various types of cancer.


Symptoms of AIDS

  • Weight loss
  • Persistent tiredness
  • Night sweats
  • Blurred vision
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • White spots on the mouth or tongue
  • Dry cough
  • Fever that lasts for several days
  • Shortness of breath


Treating AIDS

First of all, if you believe you have been exposed to HIV infection, you should immediately get a HIV test. Although there is no cure for HIV/AIDS there are treatments which can slow the development of the disease and offer patients a long and healthy life.

Emergency HIV drugs

The post-exposure prophylaxis medication or PEP may stop the individual from becoming infected with HIV if it is started within 72 hours from coming into contact with the virus. The treatment lasts for a month, has serious side effects and its success is not guaranteed.

Antiretroviral drugs

The treatment with antiretrovirals (ARVs) fights the HIV infection and slows down its development. Usually the patients take a combination of medications known as HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy), which is adapted to each patient. The treatment is lifelong and the side effects are quite severe.

Complementary or alternative medicine

Mineral or vitamin supplements, herbal medications and other alternative and complementary treatments and medications may show some benefits for some patients.


Cost of HIV treatment

In the US the cost for the HIV treatment varies from $2,000 to $5,000 per month.  In the UK patients pay around $30,000 annually. Although some patients qualify for public assistance programs, many of them are uninsured. The AIDS Drug Assistance Program or ADAP and Medicaid are offering assistance programs for people with AIDS.


If you need to know more about HIV/AIDS and the available treatments, contact us!

Chronic Diseases - Chronic Diseases, PlacidWay, Chronic diseases are considered those that last for months or years and affect millions of people on a yearly basis, costing billions of dollars in health care costs as well as untold pain and suffering. Fortunately, a large majority of chronic disease processes are preventable and education is the key in reducing the number of individuals suffering such long-term conditions and disease processes.