The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) used to be regarded, before now, as a terminal disease that requires folks to run away from anyone that is infected with it. Recently, modern science has greatly improved and such notions have changed drastically.
People with HIV are now regarded as normal beings that may even live a longer and healthier life than those who are not infected if the right things are done.
The subject of HIV prognosis is, therefore, frequently discussed given the fact that the question of how long a person would live is what comes to mind immediately after being diagnosed with the virus.
Doctors and other medical practitioners have, therefore, always found a way to work out this possibility and elongate the lifespan, which is subject to correct usage of recommended medications.
Critical factors for HIV Prognosis
One cannot be certain about how long an HIV infected person would live after being infected but certain factors would help the prognosis in an infected person. Those factors include:
- The year of diagnosis. The use of antiretroviral drugs is always after a person has been diagnosed because HIV negative persons would never use it. These medications have improved over time and their potency in most circumstances is dependent on how early enough the patient was diagnosed and placed on the medication. It is important to, therefore, say that early diagnosis is one of the major factors to consider during the prognosis.
- The measure of healthcare. Some persons may be disadvantaged due to the quality of healthcare they receive. In most cases, HIV patients who are able to afford well equipped medical centers lead a better life compared to those who do not. In addition to that, ignorance on the part of the patient may also lead to a reduction in access to quality healthcare.
- Other illnesses. No doubt, HIV occasions other illnesses since the immune system becomes weakened and then paves way for other opportunistic diseases that one may have to battle with. When one neglects good health care habits and gets overwhelmed by these opportunistic infections, the expectancy of a long life may be in doubt because the immune system would only grow weaker unless adequate steps are taken.
- The medical results after a year. HIV prognosis shows better results for those whom, within a year, have responded positively to treatment. This analysis is done when the CD4 counts reach 350 with undetectable viral load within that time frame. If this result is actualized within a year of treatment, the patient is expected to get better and live a very long life – every other thing being equal.
Drugs that can help boost HIV Prognosis
To gain perfect control of one’s health is now very possible with the aid of modern drugs that medical sciences have produced. Each class of HIV drugs performs specific functions based on the health status of the HIV patient. The drugs are:
- Protease inhibitors. The major way to live longer (since HIV does not have a cure that can eradicate it) is to prevent the virus from reproducing itself. This drug helps to deactivate the Protease of HIV and prevent it from making copies of itself. Some of the drugs that belong to this class include Darunavir, Indinavir, Atazanavir, and many others in that class.
- Non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs). This also helps to shield against replication of certain proteins which are required by HIV to replicate itself. Some of them include Etravirine (Intelence), Efavirenz (Sustiva) and many others of the same class.
- Entry or fusion inhibitors. This form of HIV drug operates by disallowing the HIV to transform into CD4 T cells, which is not a very good stage for any HIV infected person. Some of the drugs in this class are Maraviroc and Enfuvirtide.
The use of some of these drugs may occasion some side effects which has been the reason for many patients to stop using them. One should not be discouraged because after some time, the side effects would wear off and the system would get used to the medications. Some of those side effects are:
- Diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea in some persons
- Loss or a weakened bone mass
- Some forms of heart diseases
- High level of blood sugar
- Irregular levels of cholesterol
- Rhabdomyolysis, which is a breakdown of muscle tissues
While one faces the above side effects and continues the medications, certain lifestyle changes may be adopted to help facilitate a better HIV prognosis. These include:
- Avoidance of close contacts with certain animals because they might carry parasites which easily causes an infection. If one most do, a thorough washing of hands should be done immediately after having close contacts with such animals.
- Get regular immunizations against pneumonia and flu, among other such conditions.
- Eat only healthy foods that are capable of nourishing the body.
- Avoid the consumption of raw eggs and meat.
- Take the medications regularly, which are like the most important things to do.
HIV prognosis is flexible and results are capable of being achieved based on how a person has chosen to maintain his or her health. Without any treatment, an HIV infected person may live for about 10 years while a person under medication may live for up to 71 years after diagnosis, which is like a full life of a person who is uninfected.
This drastic difference in HIV prognosis is of course determined by what you do, how you do and when you do it with the available modes of treatments in the world today.