In 1987, a drug called AZT became the first approved treatment for HIV infection. Since then, approximately 30 drugs have been approved to treat people living with HIV/AIDS, and more are under development. For individuals living with HIV, these drugs have become life-saving treatments.
Since there is no cure for HIV, a person will have HIV for life, and without the proper medications, HIV can ultimately lead to death. Fortunately, remarkable advances in science and technology mean that HIV is now a chronic manageable disease, so that people who have HIV can lead long, healthy lives if they get proper medical treatment. Current HIV treatments also allow individuals with HIV to drastically reduce their risk of transmitting HIV to others, including sexual partners and, for females, unborn children.
There are now five different classes of HIV drugs, each attacking the virus at different points in its life cycle. People taking HIV medications will generally take three different antiretroviral drugs from two different classes. This regimen, often referred to as Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART or ART), is the standard for HIV treatment, and gives individuals with HIV the best opportunity to control the amount of HIV in their body, protect their immune system, and protect against drug resistance.
Taking HIV medications is critical to lowering HIV viral load (the amount of HIV in the body) and increasing CD4 levels (the amount of healthy, immune-boosting cells in the body). Getting and staying on medical treatment is the key to long-term success, and for people living with HIV, achieving overall wellness requires a comprehensive approach.
At Damien Center, we focus on each patient's unique needs as they work toward getting and staying on HIV medications. When patients are stable in all areas of their lives, they are able to adhere to the medical treatment that leads to undetectable viral loads. With this goal in mind, Damien Center conveniently provides a wide range of programs and services under one roof, making it easy for our patients to access all the care and support available.
Get connected with HIV medical care and supportive services at Damien Center by contacting our Linkage to Care team today!