HIV And HAART
What Is HAART
Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapies are the current therapies for human immunodeficiency virus. While there is no cure for human immunodeficiency virus HAART therapies can reduce the amount of human immunodeficiency virus in the blood. With the viral load lower the body will make new healthy T-cells.
HIV patients can live a fairly normal lifespan if they adhere to treatments and make healthy choices in food and get adequate physical activity.
How Do HAART Therapies Work?
First, let’s look at how the virus attacks the human body
- How the human immunodeficiency virus enters the bloodstream – You become infected with the human immunodeficiency virus when the blood or fluids of an infected person enters the another by sexual contact, blood transfusions, needle sharing, or breastfeeding
- How the virus attaches to white blood cells - the virus contains small protrusions that can attach to the white blood
- The human immunodeficiency virus alters the white cells DNA - after the virus connects with the white cell, the virus tries to bind with the white cell and place virus-reproducing material into the white cell, targeting the center and damaging the DNA stored there.
- The virus replicates – once in the white cell it uses the white cell as home and to replicate more and allow them into the bloodstream to repeat the cycle.
There are two chemicals needed for the virus to replicate itself in the t-cell, these are protease and reverse transcriptase. By inhibiting these two chemicals HIV medicines can reduce the virus’s ability to reproduce.
It is important to realize that HIV viruses can adapt to medications making them less effective which means medications have to be changed. By suppressing the virus at every step HAART can help HIV remain under control.
What Are HAART Therapies Designed To Do?
- Suppress the ability of the virus to attach itself to t-cells
- Inhibit the virus from altering the white cells
- Interfere with reproduction of the virus in the cell
If You Are Taking HAART Therapies
You need to talk to your doctor if you are having trouble remaining on your medications, especially if you are having side effects. You and your doctor have to work together in order to find the best treatment to help you live a healthy long life.
Do HAART Therapies Cause Heart Disease?
Studies like SMART show that falling off your antiretroviral medications cause the disease to get worse. It also shows that dropping of HAART can aggravate problems like cardiovascular disease and blood glucose; some had thought those problems to be side effects of the HAART therapy. So it is better to stay on them if you have issues like high cholesterol or sugar and add additional medicines to deal with the cardiovascular disease.
If you wish to live well you will need to take your antiretroviral medications, correct your overall health with diet and exercise, and make an effort with your health care provider to decide the best option for any additional problems such as cardiovascular disease.