You treatment HIV drugs may be causing side effects as severe as the symptoms of the infection itself. Known when you need to seek help.
The HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus causes an infection in your body. This virus works by attacking the immune system cells of your body. In general, your immune system is equipped to isolate foreign viruses, and create antibodies to fight against them. For some reason, this process does not work with HIV. Not only does the immune system find itself unable to attack the HIV, it also begins to actively deteriorate under the effect of the virus. The virus actively targets and destroys the T-helper cells or CD4 white blood cells. The treatment HIV depends on the strain of HIV you have contracted. The most common type of HIV all over the world is of the HIV-1 strain. The HIV-2 strain is most commonly found in Western Africa, with a few stray cases seen in Europe and India.
What to Do before Treatment HIV starts
The first thing to do before treatment HIV starts is to speak to your doctor about all aspects of your medical history including what prescriptions you are on, what over-the-counter (OTC) medications you take, and whether you use any alternative therapies or recreational drugs. Do not lie to your doctor, or withhold any information from him/her. Your treatment HIV medications may have adverse effects with other medications or drugs you may be using. You doctor will be able to ward off any such complication if he/she knows what medications you are on.
The primary focus of treatment HIV plans is to actively fight the virus in the body. However, over the years, a strong secondary focus has been the reduction of any side effects faced by using treatment HIV medications. The good news is that most of the new drugs have reduced side effects. Side effects still exist, they are likely to hamper the quality of your life, so it is important to seek help from your physician if you find that treatment HIV side effects are getting too much for you to handle.
Treatment HIV Short-Term Side Effects
While your medications are working hard to control the HIV infection in your body, chances are that you might notice some short-term side effects. These short-term effects are likely to disappear with a week or two. Some of the common treatment HIV short-term side effects include fatigue, anemia, diarrhea, insomnia, dryness of mouth, lucid dreams, excessive weight loss, reactions at the site of the injections, pain and nerve problems, nausea and vomiting, skin rashes, etc.
Though these short-term side effects may be tiresome, they do tend to get better with time. In some cases, these side effects last longer than the initial adjustment period. Seek your doctor’s help because this may mean that you are suffering from another infection simultaneously. You can also consider speaking to your physician about changing to another treatment HIV plan, change your current dosage, treat the side effect, etc.
Warning: Do not stop taking a prescribed treatment HIV medication or change the dosage because of side effects or any reason. This can be dangerous for you in the long-run as it helps the virus to develop resistance to your treatment HIV drug.
Treatment HIV Long-Term Side Effects
Unlike the short-term side effects of treatment HIV plans and medications, there are a few serious problems that may develop over a long period of time. Even in the case of long-term side effects, your doctor can help you come up with a treatment HIV plan to make these side effects more manageable.
- Lipodystrophy is also known as fat redistribution. Treatment HIV side effects may cause your body to change the way it creates, uses, and stores all its fat. In this condition, you may lose the fat deposits from your legs and face area, and gain some at the back of your neck and abdominal area.
- A couple of other long-term side effects of treatment HIV medications include an increase in cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels. These side effects are highly detrimental to your heart’s health.
- Another side effect is the loss of bone density and increased risk of bone fractures or osteoporosis.
- A rare side effect, lactic acidosis indicates a buildup of cellular waste products which could cause liver failure and other problems.
In most of these cases, your long-term treatment HIV side effects can be neutralized by switching to other medication. Speak to your doctor before making any change.