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HIV Care And Treatment Activities

Person examining positive HIV sample test

 

Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is a virus that can multiply quickly and damage the immune
system of the body. An HIV infection can make it difficult for a person to fight off infections. Though no
cure is present for HIV infection, effective treatment is possible. Presently antiretroviral treatment is
used to treat HIV. When consistently used, antiretroviral therapy can help reduce the amount of virus
present in the blood of a person to a very low level. This stage is known as viral suppression.

Antiretroviral therapy can also make the viral load of a person so low that it does not show up in the
standard tests. People with HIV infection who start antiretroviral therapy early, remain on the treatment
and maintain an undetectable viral load will be able to live long and healthy lives. Proper treatment also
confers many prevention benefits. For example, studies show that no case of HIV transmission has been
reported for a person with a suppressed viral load.

The Importance Of Timely And Accessible Treatment

Though ART has health and prevention benefits, data from CDC in 2019 shows that only sixty-six percent
of people diagnosed with HIV infection in the country were virally suppressed. There are many reasons
for this. Many people with HIV who do not have the virus in check may have been diagnosed with the
infection, but are in and out of treatment due to the high cost of HIV medications and treatment,
shame, real or perceived concerns about taking HIV medications, stigma, lack of transportation and
stable housing, etc. This is where low income health clinics and affordable health clinics in your area can
come to help.

People with HIV infection need to receive proper treatment because when these people do not receive
the care and treatment that they need, the disease can worsen and can progress to AIDS. In addition,
people with HIV infection without a suppressed viral load are also at risk of transmitting the infection to
others. As per the CDC, more than ninety percent of new HIV infections could be averted by diagnosing
people with HIV and making sure that they receive proper treatment and care.

Many federal agencies play different roles in supporting HIV treatment and care for people with HIV in
the US. Some agencies deliver clinical services, others help pay for the treatment, while others offer
training, housing, employment opportunities or financial support that help people with HIV infection to
continue in care and treatment.