Considering Treatments - Treatment Officers
Over the past decade or so there have been many changes in the way HIV is understood and managed. These changes have led to great improvements in treatments and management and have greatly increased the options available to people today with HIV. As a consequence of these developments many people are living longer and staying well with HIV.
The changes which have led to these improvements include:
- A clearer understanding of how HIV works inside the body.
- A range of antiretroviral drugs which can act in different ways against the virus and are used in combination to treat HIV.
- The use of the viral load test measuring the amount of HIV circulating in your blood has become standard practice in Australia. The results of this test can help in making treatment decisions. It can also show how well the treatments are working against HIV.
Your principal source of information on treatments will be your specialist. People often find, however, that they want to discuss at length the various issues surrounding treatments, including how there lifestyle may impact on the sometimes very strict compliance required by the drugs. People are also often interested in how to deal with side effects, and other issues such as diet.
Treatment Information Officers available in the Straight Arrows/Positive Women Positive Edge Project, other HIV related organisations throughout Australia are able to discuss such issues as:
- When to start treatments;
- What combinations are best for you;
- Viral load;
- Antiretroviral treatments;
- Tips to help stop the development of resistance;
- Monitoring and changing combinations;
- Treatment breaks;
- Tips to help manage side effects;
- Complementary therapies;
- New developments;
- Other resources and support services available.
Factors to consider
- Antiretroviral guidelines and observational studies
- CD4 count
- Viral load
- Age and other health issues
- PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis)
- Conception, pregnancy and childbirth
- When you are ready!
- The HIV Dosage Chart
- HIV tests andtreatments
- Starting treatments
Victorian AIDS Council
Tel: (03) 9863 0444