Although there is currently no effective cure for HIV, the correct treatment can help in controlling and slowing the progression of the virus and helping those who have contracted it go on to live long and healthy lives. The treatment most commonly used for HIV involves a combination of medications, commonly referred to as antiretroviral therapy (ART).

See also: What is HIV? An Interview With Trinity K Bonet


Antiretroviral therapy (ART): How does it work?


HIV is treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART), this is simply a combination of medications that can help in reducing the amount of virus in the blood or bodily fluids - it can also help in reducing the possibility of transmitting HIV to others [1]. As everyone is different, the combination of medicines will likely differ from person to person.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it’s important to start this treatment as soon as possible following diagnosis [2]. ART is a lifelong treatment and it’s important to take it just as your healthcare provider has outlined.

See also: HIV and Pneumonia: What’s the Connection?


Are there side effects to antiretroviral therapy (ART)?


While not everyone will experience side effects from ART [3], there are some common side effects that may occur, these include:

  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Pain
  • Dizziness

If treatment is making you feel unwell, it’s important to get in touch with your healthcare provider who will be able to provide help and guidance.

See also: HIV and Aids: Myths and Facts


What are the benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ART)?


Beginning ART is one of the best ways to keep healthy [4], some of the advantages include:

  • Reduces the amount of the virus in your blood and/or bodily fluids
  • Reduces risk of transmitting HIV to others
  • Keeps your immune system strong, fit and healthy

See also: HIV and Cancer: What’s the Connection?


It’s important to keep in mind that many people might not experience any signs of symptoms of HIV and early detection is key to beginning treatment and going on to live a healthy life - this is why it’s so important to regularly screen your sexual health.

Testing for HIV can be done with your local doctor or from home with an at-home lab test. LetsGetChecked’s at-home STI Tests detect some of the most common sexually transmitted infections. The test for HIV involves a simple finger-prick sample and online results will be available within 2-5 days. Our dedicated medical team will be available throughout the process to provide support and guidance in any way they can.

See also: How do you Check for HIV From Home?



References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Treatment. Online: Cdc.gov, 2019
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Antiretroviral Therapy to Prevent Sexual Transmission of HIV (Treatment as Prevention). Online: Clinicalinfo.hiv.gov, 2019
  3. Mayo Clinic. HIV/AIDS. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2020
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Treatment. Online: Cdc.gov, 2019