The HIV continuum of care is a public health model that shows the different steps people with HIV go through. In fact, it starts when a person gets an HIV diagnosis and includes achieving and maintaining viral suppression. HIV can make the infected person’s immune system weak, and if not treated, it can lead to a more serious stage, called AIDS. That is why, if you think you have the virus, don’t hesitate to go to a medical professional to get an HIV test. Getting a test is the only way to know if you have the disease. Keep reading to learn the different stages of medical treatment for HIV, known as the HIV continuum care.
What is HIV?
The human immunodeficiency virus, commonly known as HIV, attacks the body’s immune system. Though there is no known cure for HIV, proper medical care can help control the progression. Moreover, if HIV is not treated, it can prompt a life-threatening condition called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Signs and Symptoms
Some individuals experience flu-like symptoms within 2 to 4 weeks after acute HIV infection. These side effects might keep going for a couple of days or several weeks. Possible manifestations include:
- Muscle aches
- Mouth sores or ulcers
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
If the virus does not get treated, it can lead to other complications. In some severe cases, it can cause vision problems such as HIV retinopathy. Furthermore, HIV symptoms are also similar to other illnesses. That is why it is better to seek professional help if you notice these symptoms and think you may have been exposed to HIV. Getting an HIV test is the best way to know for sure.
Importance of HIV Continuum of Care
The HIV care continuum, also referred to as HIV treatment cascade, is helpful for an individual-level tool to evaluate care results. It is also beneficial for a population-level structure to examine the extent of individuals with HIV in a given local area. They are engaged in each progressive step. This helps health and human services better identify the gaps and create strategies to support people with HIV to accomplish the treatment goal.
This care is necessary to help people with HIV to achieve and maintain viral suppression. Getting this care can support people with HIV to live long, healthy lives. In addition, it has a significant prevention benefit. Individuals with HIV who take daily medication have effectively no risk of transmitting the virus to their sexual partners.
Nonetheless, some hindrances can add to poor commitment to HIV care and treatment. This significantly limits the effectiveness to improve health outcomes for people with HIV and reduce new HIV transmissions.
Steps In The HIV Care Continuum
The AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC) Program gives assets and implementation considerations for every stage of the HIV continuum. As illustrated by the AETC Program, there are six stages in the HIV treatment cascade:
Preventing New Infections
The goal of preventive measures is to prevent the virus from progressing and spreading to others. Commonly this includes:
Prevent sexual transmission: Appropriate use of protective barriers such as condoms during sexual intercourse.
Prevention of mother-to-child transmission: The mother will take an HIV medication to lower the measure of virus in her body.
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP): PEP can be applied when an individual has an unprotected sexual experience with an HIV-positive individual or might be utilized in occupational settings, for example, when a healthcare worker in Lyndarum Dentist in Epping, VIC, for example, is left with a needle used on an HIV-positive patient.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): Includes recommending HIV medications to HIV-negative persons at high risk of acquiring HIV.
Identifying Cases through HIV Testing and Diagnosis
Conducting screening to distinguish and diagnose HIV-positive people fills two significant needs within the HIV care continuum:
- Identifying infected people.
- Increasing individuals’ awareness of their HIV condition, which prevents new HIV infections.
Connecting HIV-Positive People to Quality HIV Care
When an HIV finding is confirmed, a person should be referred to an HIV healthcare provider. So if you are looking for a dental care provider, you can visit this website to get proper and reliable treatment. Regular HIV care includes clinical monitoring, which can empower HIV-positive people to live longer, better lives. Furthermore, a medical care provider can teach people living with HIV the most proficient method to prevent transmitting the virus to others.
Keeping HIV-Positive People in Quality HIV Care
Continual follow-up care is fundamental since there is no definite treatment for HIV/AIDS. In fact, this is effective, long-term management of the disease. Retention and engagement is commonly the term to keep people in care. Like when you get a dental treatment since it is also important to take care of your oral health during HIV treatment. In any case, retention in care is when you visit a clinic twice during a calendar year. On the other hand, engagement in care encompasses visits to clinics and adherence to drug regimens and other medical or lifestyle-change suggestions made by health care providers.
Effective Drug Treatment
Throughout the HIV/AIDS epidemic, taking prescriptions can help forestall or significantly delay the beginning of AIDS for HIV-positive individuals. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the term used in these combinations of medications.
Suppressed Viral Load
This happens when there is an unknown measure of the HIV virus in an individual’s blood. In fact, viral suppression requires an HIV-positive person to cooperate in care and follow an HIV medication regimen of antiretroviral therapy.
Many medical organizations use the HIV Care Continuum to monitor the progress of various subpopulations at different phases of the continuum.
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