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Getting Informed About HIV

3已有 2511 次阅读  2011-06-03 14:04
What Is HIV Disease?

Simply put, HIV disease is a disease of the immune system, although it can infect other cells in the body like nerve cells. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) causes disease because, after it gets into immune cells, it uses them to reproduce over and over. As a result, these cells function poorly or die early. Left untreated over time, your body will lose its ability to fight off other illnesses that are called opportunistic infections, or OIs.

This gradual damage doesn't happen the same way in everyone, or even at the same pace. In some it may not happen at all, while in a few people HIV weakens their immune systems very rapidly, in just a few years. On average, without HIV treatment, it takes about 8-10 years before most people would face their first serious symptoms. With treatment, studies suggest that many people can live another 40 years with HIV.

However, it's important to start treatment before these symptoms appear. Without treatment, the body will eventually lose its ability to fight infections. Most everyone will need to start treatment at some point to control their HIV.

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Even though you probably feel well, HIV is still considered a disease. The word disease makes it seem like you should feel sick, when in fact you can feel quite well a lot of the time. Some people don't think of it that way; instead they say they live with HIV or are HIV-positive. It's really the same thing.

However, the term AIDS is different. In this case, a person with AIDS not only has HIV but has developed certain conditions. These include a CD4 count below 200, a CD4 percentage below 14%, and/or one of 26 AIDS-defining conditions. (More on CD4s is found in the section titled "Two Common Blood Tests: CD4 Count and Viral Load.")

Many people wonder if they have to start HIV meds right away.In some cases, HIV disease can be treated with minimal impact on a person's life. For others, it may be more difficult. But treating HIV is becoming more manageable with each passing year. It's very possible that you can live well with HIV, and a full consultation with a doctor can help you devise the best treatment for you.


Your Immune System
Your Immune System

Next to the nervous system, your immune system is the most complex system in your body. It's made of many parts: cells, tissues, organs, fluid and vessels. Some of these include your skin, appendix, tonsils, spleen, thymus and lymph glands. Scientists know a lot about the immune system, but there's a great deal more to learn.

Your immune system is constantly on alert to find microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. These are also called pathogens, which means they can cause disease. When one of these pathogens is found, your immune system goes into action to stop it from reproducing, destroy it and rid it from your body, which it does in many complex ways. As a result, you can feel various symptoms like headache, fever or aches and pains.

During early infection with HIV, the immune system responds to get this new infection under control, which is why many people felt like they had the flu. And even though the immune system gets HIV under control to some degree in most people, the virus can push the immune system out of balance, cause inflammation, and destroy immune cells that may not be so easily replaced. This is one significant way it gets damaged. Research is looking at ways to replenish these lost immune cells.

However, some ways to improve your chances of a healthy immune system are by getting into care as early as possible to keep track of your health, keeping your immune organs healthy, engaging in habits that promote health like proper diet and exercise, preventing infections, and starting HIV treatment when it's appropriate for you. Using HIV medicines is the only way we know how to control the virus over time, and they have improved and extended the lives of people living with HIV.


Do You Have to Start Meds Right Away?
Do You Have to Start Meds Right Away?

The answer depends on your situation, but many newly diagnosed people don't have to start treatment right away. You likely have time to get used to your diagnosis, learn more about HIV, and get your "ducks in a row." This includes getting ready for treatment, fully understanding the benefits and risks of starting HIV treatment (or even not starting), and knowing how and where to access your medications.

However, some people should start right away. A panel of HIV experts revises HIV treatment Guidelines to help with {{{XXX}}} decisions on when to start meds, as new information becomes available.If your blood tests show that your immune system is not controlling HIV or you have other illnesses that make you less healthy, you may need to start. Pregnant HIV-positive women are also recommended to start. Still others will start right away because they believe starting sooner will be better for them over time, which is something to discuss more in depth with your doctor or other people you trust. Some argue that starting as soon as possible may help prevent immune system damage, while others feel that it's better to wait due to possible long-term side effects.


HIV Treatment Guidelines
Two Common Blood Tests: CD4 Count and Viral Load

The US Guidelines for treating HIV infection in adults were updated December 1, 2009. Updates are based on the latest understanding of current HIV research as recommended by a panel of more than 30 HIV-experienced doctors, researchers and community representatives. The panel culls through and considers a broad range of study results and makes recommendations based on these data along with their expert opinions and interpretation of those results.

As of December 2009, the panel recommends everyone start treatment who has a CD4 count below 500. Pregnant women, people with an AIDS-defining illness, people with HIV-related kidney disease, and people living with hepatitis B disease who need to be treated for HIV should start treatment regardless of their CD4 count.

These Guidelines are recommendations, not strict rules, and are one significant source of information for you and your doctor. Since treating HIV is best done considering the many needs of the individual, you and your doctor will likely use the Guidelines as one factor to consider, along with your own health and lifestyle considerations and ability to start and stay on your regimen. Other people may make different decisions about their treatment.


Two Common Blood Tests: CD4 Count and Viral Load

As you keep up with your doctor visits, two blood tests are often used to keep track of the health of your immune system, as well as for {{{XXX}}} decisions about starting or changing therapy. The first, the CD4 count, shows how many of these important immune cells are found in a sample of blood, which represents the total amount in your body. The CD4 is usually looked at as the "general" of the immune system coordinating the immune response by telling other cells what to do. The goal is to keep your CD4s as high as possible for as long as possible.


CD4 Range What It Generally Means

  Below 200

Should be on treatment. Constitutes an AIDS diagnosis.

  200-350

Should be on treatment. Some disease symptoms likely.

  350-500

Recommend treatment.* Symptoms less likely, but possible.

  Above 500

"Normal" range. Could be on treatment.* Symptoms less likely.

* From US Guidelines for treating HIV. For more information, read Project Inform's publication


The other test, the viral load, shows the amount of HIV that's found in a sample of blood, which represents the total amount in your body. An undetectable viral load (below 50 copies) is one main goal in treating HIV disease. This means that HIV is under control by your immune system or by the medicines you're on. A low viral load is generally considered below 55,000, and a high viral load is generally considered above 100,000.


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发表评论 评论 (4 个评论)

  • 蔡蔡 2011-06-03 17:57
    请尽量不要用英文,或是请转(写)了英文,在后面加上中文译文.PS:英文很差的我,很郁闷...
  • 杨子 2011-06-04 00:00
    蔡蔡: 请尽量不要用英文,或是请转(写)了英文,在后面加上中文译文.PS:英文很差的我,很郁闷...
    同意!
  • 杨子 2011-06-04 00:01
    释觉修: 什么是艾滋病毒病?
    简单地说,艾滋病毒病是一种免疫系统疾病,虽然它可以在感染神经细胞像身体的其他细胞。艾滋病病毒(人类免疫力缺乏病毒)引起的疾病,因为
    翻译官终于来了!非常感谢!
  • 永成 2011-06-05 19:34
    蔡蔡: 请尽量不要用英文,或是请转(写)了英文,在后面加上中文译文.PS:英文很差的我,很郁闷...
    我比较懒,看了看还是挺长的,翻译起来我也受不了
涂鸦板