3 HIV Myths that feed the stigma

viraday-aids-drugsA lot of strides have been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS worldwide. HIV-infected people can now live longer, healthier lives thanks to advancements in antiretroviral treatment. There have been a lot of strides in HIV medication as well.

But one of the foremost barriers to every single step made is stigma. Stigma is any kind of prejudice directed towards people infected with HIV/AIDS, people who are perceived to be so, as well as their partners, families, friends or communities.

It is as much a problem in the US as it is in the rest of the world.

It affects HIV prevention, treatment and awareness. At times, stigma is fed by simple myths and misconceptions concerning HIV/AIDS.

Here they are:

HIV is the same as AIDS

This is an idea that makes people associate ‘being HIV-positive’ with having AIDS. And that gives them the leeway to fear or discriminate anyone living with HIV.

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

AIDS is the condition where the infected person has a CD4 count that below 200 or has certain infections or cancers.

People can live with HIV for years without having AIDS.

HIV is a death sentence

This myth usually carries fear along with it. It pushes the stigma that those infected will soon die and this is not helpful to someone who needs to get treatment.

Advanced antiretroviral therapy has made living with HIV possible meaning it is no longer a death sentence.

It only remains deadly to people who either do not know they are infected or are in denial.

HIV can spread through saliva, tears, sweat and toilets

This one is usually the kicker.

A lot of stigma stems from the idea that interacting with someone infected with HIV will spread the virus to them. But HIV only spreads through blood, semen, vaginal fluid or milk from an infected person. Not through the air, eating together, sharing cutlery, sharing toilets, switching clothes, touching, hugging or kissing.

Although the numbers have plateaued, according the CDC, there are still over 50,000 new infections in the US each year. Debunking the myths and curbing the stigma could make a huge difference.

Purchasing HIV and AIDS medications like Viraday and Tenvir EM online is probably the most affordable option for most people.

How do AIDS Drugs Work?

AIDS, also known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, was first found in the year 1981. It is mainly caused by the HIV virus which is also known as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV or AIDs by itself is not dangerous – but it can attack and weaken the body’s immune system so severely that one could even get very ill from simple germs. This is because your body now has no way of healing itself after the immune system is attacked and broken down.

AIDs cannot really be treated and removed, but it can be controlled well with the help of medicine. ART, or antiretroviral therapy is what is usually used to help keep AIDs under control. With proper ART, someone suffering from AIDs or HIV can live completely like a normal person.

When you are undergoing ART therapy, you would have to follow a strict regimen of taking a combination of HIV medicines every day So how do these aid drugs work? What these drugs does is that it prevents the HIV cells from multiplying itself in your body, which helps to reduce the level of HIV you might have in your body.

When you have lesser HIV cells in your body, naturally your body’s immune system would be stronger and have a chance to fight off simple illnesses, diseases or infections. Do note that these medicines are unable to completely remove HIV in your body, but the reduction is good enough to help your immune system to work like a normal person. These drugs also help to reduce the risk of you spreading the virus to other people.

If HIV is not treated and kept well under control, it would eventually progress to AIDs. But AIDs can be treated in the same way just like HIV, just that the medicines will be different and cost a lot more.

By now you should understand how do aid drugs work and it is important for you to encourage anyone you know who is suffering from HIV/AIDs to go through the proper treatment.

Advances in AIDS Medication

aids-advancementsHIV has been ravaging the world for many years. It attacks
the immune system of its victims with devastating results. The medical world
has not yet been able to find a way to eradicate the virus however they have
been able to find ways of slowing its progression. The treatment regime is not
the exact same for each individual and some infected individuals have to take
as many as three or four different medications each day to keep the virus in
their system at bay. Here is a look at a few of the medications that have been
approved by the American Food and Drug Administration.

If you are not certain what kind of medication you are being given you are
entitled to ask. You are also entitled to inquire as to the various potential
side effects that the drug may have. The side effects vary from person to
person with some people displaying little or no side effects while others may
display very extreme side effects. If you do experience any side effects it is
important to make certain that you notify your physician of these and make joint
decision as to your next course of action. It is not recommended that you stop
taking your medication without the approval of your physician. The medication
is there to prevent the virus from replicating and destroying your immune
system as quickly as it would otherwise be able to.

Each medication will also have a number of contraindications that may dictate
what you are and are not able to take. It is important that you provide your
physician with as much information about your state of health and any potential
complications that you may have such as pregnancy or heart conditions or allergies
to ensure that you are not prescribed a medication that is not recommended for
use in individuals with your specific problem.

When it comes to the treatment of any illness it is important that you work in
conjunction with your physician to find a treatment that will not do further
damage. The more information you are able to give your physician the better
since various prescription drugs have a number of side effects and are
contraindicated for those suffering from certain conditions. It is also never advisable
to stop taking your prescribed medication without prior consultation with your

A brief history of AIDS medications and treatments.

The first weapon to fight against spread of HIV inside a human body
was discovered in 1987. Its name is AOP-RANTES which inhibited HIV entry
not only into lymphocytes but also into macrophages. They interfere
with white blood cells which protect the body against viruses and
bacteria. AOP-RANTES blocks HIV entry blood cells. (Based on a study by
Glaxo Wellcome collaboration) Scientists believe that by attacking HIV
in early stage, they can delay or stop progression to disease. That was a
new approach targeting host cells i.e. CD4 (white blood cells) to
prevent HIV entry.

This is the beginning of the new sophisticated
fight against HIV. We shall see here below further advances starting
from 1987 up-to-date with the latest developments in the medical History
in man’s fight against HIV/AIDS.

First Ten Years of Battle 1987-1997:

03.3.87, Retrovir, the first drug licensed for the treatment of
HIV/AIDS was launched in the UK. Till then, doctors were powerless to
fight against advancement of HIV to AIDS leading to death. In 1995, new
data revealed that taking a combination of Retrovir with one of the most
powerful drugs Epivir TM, (3TCTM, lamivudine), reduces the amount of
HIV in the blood by 99% Since then, other studies have shown that
addition of a third drug, a member of a new class of drugs called
protease inhibitors which attack the virus in a different way, reduces
the amount of virus even further to undetectable levels in some

Since Retrovir was launched and in less time than it
normally takes to bring just one drug from laboratory to the patient,
another 8 drugs have been licensed to treat HIV and there are dozens of
potential new drugs in the pipeline.

In 1997, Professor Joep
Lange, Director, National AIDS Therapy Evaluation Centre at the Academic
Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam declared that:

“Even if
we cannot eradicate the virus, we will continue to develop treatment
strategies that suppress the infection and prevent disease progression
for longer and longer until HIV becomes a manageable
non-life-threatening condition”.

So this is the situation in 1997.
ART on one side and progress in research on the other side marked the
developments from 1987 to 1997

A New Combination of Drugs to Cure AIDS in 1999:

a major development in the area of AIDS treatment Prof. Anthony Fauci
of the National Institute for Allergy and infectious diseases in US
announced a new combination of drugs that promised of a cure for AIDS.
Prof Fauci, who is an internationally renowned AIDS expert, made the
above announcement at the tenth International Conference on immunology.

new combination held out the hope for a potential cure for the disease
as it had been found to clear out the AIDS virus completely from the
blood stream. Specifically, it was found to remove the virus from
specific cells of the immune system (CD4 cells).

The new
combination he announced was ART drugs, AZT (Azidothymidine) and an
enzyme protease (three drug therapy), along with the inclusion another
new drug by adding interluekins, a class of proteins secreted by immune
cells completely eliminated the virus from CD$ cells that circulated in

The new drug, though might be successful, it may not be of
much use to developing countries, as the therapy would be costlier than
the existing one, which itself was beyond the reach of most of them.

TRUVADA: the 21st Century Drug:

is known chemically as a fixed-dose, daily in-take combination of
emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Since 2004, it has been
marketed as a treatment to those already affected with HIV. However,
beginning 2010, clinical studies demonstrated that the drug could
prevent people from contracting the infection. Truvada could be a
preventive measure for high-risk individuals such as those with HIV
positive partners provided the users counsel sexual health counsellors
and use condoms.

A three year study showed that the daily in-take
of Truvada reduced the risk of infection in healthy gay and bisexual men
by 42%, who belong to high risk group.

A recent study in 2011 found that Truvada reduced infection by 75% in heterosexual couples in which one partner was infected.

recent Press-Release by FDA informs that they have since given their
first ever nod for this anti-HIV drug to the pharmaceutical company
Gilead Sciences. (Source: The Hindu-July 18, 2012)

brief and simple treatment of anti HIV drugs was given in the above
paragraphs. Attending to the needs of HIV/Aids affected and infected
people requires talents in various fields. A highly qualified doctor
should have a bent of social service and also should be a psychologist.
Likewise, a social worker should not only be a good psychologist, but
also should have a fundamental knowledge of AIDS medication. Also a
psychologist should have the knowledge of both social service and