It is a common practice for people who have recently been diagnosed with HIV to skip treatment and wait until the symptoms are really bad before they commence treatment. This is highly risky both to the patients and to others because without treatment the virus will progress to full-blown AIDS much faster leading to a quicker death. Lack of early treatment also increases the risk of spreading the infection.
With advancement in HIV treatment, infected people can now lead a comfortable and longer life, however, treatment has to be administered as early as possible for maximum efficiency. It’s, therefore, important that HIV-positive people, even if they still feel well, should start treatment immediately otherwise, the risks will be increased dramatically. Being passive on HIV treatment has been proven to bring extreme suffering not just to the patient but to their family and friends too.
According to reports by Reuters, early treatment of HIV considerably decreases the chances of spreading the disease to others. This report is supported by numerous studies focusing on the timing of administration of antiretroviral therapy (ART).
According to one of the studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the protection against spreading HIV in patients taking ARTs lasts for years.
93% Lower Risk of Transmission
The lead researcher, Dr. Myron Cohen of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill reported that early treatment for HIV is linked to a 93% lower risk of transmission compared to delayed administration of ART.
He added that by taking the ART can lead to a point of virus suppression causing the risk of spreading the virus to dramatically reduce. The study observed that 1,763 volunteers who were successfully taking their treatment did not transmit the virus.
On the other hand, volunteers who had delayed treatment until they developed AIDS revealed just how easily the infection can be passed on to others. The researchers advised people who think that they are infected to visit an HIV testing clinic immediately and consult a physician for immediate assistance.
HIV Symptoms to Lookout For
Possible acute HIV symptoms that you should look out for include:
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle aches
- Night sweats
- Esophagus, mouth or genital ulcers
If you have a good number of the above symptoms, it’s important that you go for immediate HIV and STD testing. However, important to note that even if you don’t have these symptoms there’s still a chance that you have the infection because symptoms will usually start showing about four weeks after unprotected sex with an infected person.
Even though there is increased HIV awareness and prevention campaigns, the virus is still one of the most deadly STDs affecting about two million victims every year across the globe. It’s therefore very important that you always practice safe sex and stick to one sexual partner to reduce the risk of infection. Regular HIV testing is also recommended especially if you have unprotected sex even if you’re not aware of your partner’s HIV status. If you suspect you or one of your family members have symptoms of HIV, contact us immediately to schedule an appointment for testing.