HIV

Testing equipment used to find out a patient's diabetes risk.

Diabetes Risk: HIV Patients Have a Higher Risk

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Testing equipment used to find out a patient's diabetes risk.

Researchers discover that the HIV virus may cause patients to have a higher diabetes risk.

Patients with HIV are always at risk. They are left vulnerable to infections and other comorbidities due to the virus attacking their immune system. Scientists were startled when they made the revelation that HIV patients had a 4 percent higher risk of developing diabetes. This discovery was made in a recent study published in the BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care online journal.

Despite Low Obesity Rates, Diabetes Risk Persist

Obesity is a key indicator of diabetes. However, many patients with HIV do not have obesity, a fact leaving scientist confused. To find out just how prevalent diabetes is among the HIV population, researchers launched a probe into two sets of data from 2009-2010.

They analyzed a survey of 8,610 HIV-positive individuals in the Medical Monitoring Project (MMP) and another survey of 5,064 people without the disease who participated in the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Comparing these two sets of data would give them insights into the diabetes risk of those with and without HIV.

Here is the breakdown of what the researchers found:

  • One in 10 HIV patients had diabetes.
  • 4% of those with diabetes had type 1.
  • Over of those with diabetes had type 2.
  • 44% of HIV patients had and unspecified strain.
  • Over 8% of the general population had diabetes.
  • The occurrence of diabetes was 3.8% higher in HIV patients.

This study was able to show that HIV patients are at risk. However, since the research was purely observational, scientists were not able to make a definitive conclusion as to why. They know that obesity is still a risk factor, but due to its high absence in individuals with HIV, they have to think differently.

The researchers had this to say: “Additional research would help to determine whether [diabetes] screening guidelines should be modified to include HIV infection as a risk factor for [the condition], and to identify optimal management strategies in this population.”

inspirational-hiv-quotes

Inspirational HIV Quotes That Promote Positivity

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An illustration of an HIV/AIDS ribbon shaped into a heart. A fitting sentiment for inspirational HIV quotes.

Below are a few of our favorite inspirational HIV quotes.

For this post, we’ve decided to do something a little different and share our favorite inspirational HIV quotes. Living with HIV is a day-by-day challenge. Because of this, a positive mindset is important. High anxiety and depression have a strong effect on HIV patients. More so than a regular patient.

People with HIV want to be treated with kindness and respect. Just like everyone else. Telling them as much can go a long way. So, with that in mind, here are just a few of some of the most inspirational HIV quotes.

Inspirational HIV Quotes

  • “Being seen does have value. I have the support of my boyfriend, my great friends, and my loving parents. Many do not and this is, in part, for them.” – Olympian Ji Wallace on having HIV.
  • “We need to band together as a unit every day, especially to conquer the strength of the AIDS virus.” – Actor Dustin Hoffman, on combatting the spread of HIV/AIDS.
  • “HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug: Heaven knows they need it.” – Princess Diana, on getting rid of the HIV stigma.
  • “Sick people, particularly those with serious conditions, greatly prefer the company of their friends and family to residence in a hospital or nursing home.” – Author and activist David Mixner, on the importance of a strong support system for sick people.
  • “Three decades into this crisis, let us set our sights on achieving the “three zeros.” Zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths.” – Ban Ki-Moon, secretary-general of the UN, calling for the cure of HIV and AIDS.
  • “We live in a completely interdependent world, which simply means we cannot escape each other. How we respond to AIDS depends, in part, on whether we understand this interdependence. It is not someone else’s problem. This is everybody’s problem.” – Bill Clinton, discussing a united front in solving the AIDS crisis.

Some of the most iconic figures of the past century have shared inspirational words about HIV. Whether the person is royalty, a writer, or even a Hollywood star, they all share the same eagerness when it comes to fighting HIV. They believe that positivity, as well as working together, will help find a cure to end the virus once and for all.

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Image of doctor hand on patient shoulder

Improving Linkage to Care is the Next Goal for HIV Treatment

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A doctor consoling a patient. Attention like this is important in Linkage to Care.

Here’s how to improve Linkage to Care.

Linkage to Care (LTC) is the three-month period of time between diagnosis and medical treatment for HIV. Groundwork is laid for future treatment during this time. Newly-diagnosed patients need to understand the ins and outs of their diagnosis. It’s a crucial part in such a transitional time in their lives.

Studies have shown a wide range of information regarding how many HIV patients are getting LTC. The number is often between 59% and 80%. Many consider this to be too low a number either way. This has prompted more developed nations to set their Linkage to Care rate to 90% by 2020.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stresses the importance of providing a service built around the health needs of those living with HIV. A diagnosis of this magnitude can make a patient feel vulnerable. Consequently, WHO believes treating them with dignity goes a long way.

WHO recently gave a list of suggestions that studies suggest would help improve LTC. Here is what they find to be most helpful.

Steps to Help Increase Linkage to Care

  • Streamlined interventions to reduce the time between diagnosis and engagement in care. This includes enhanced linkage with case management and support for HIV disclosure.
  • Carrying out routine viral load testing 6 months and 12 months after Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). If the patient is stable on ART, then every 12 months would be all that’s necessary.
  • Improving the data used to identify the linkage’s quality.
  • Less frequent clinic visits for those stable on ART. As a result of ART working for them, every 3-6 months would be sufficient.
  • Programs that provide community support boosts retention in care. Methods suggested for them to use include: interventions, peer counselors, and mobile communication.

When Linkage to Care is initiated early for HIV patients, better medical treatment is possible. Increasing the amount of people who receive earlier treatment is a great first step in managing the disease.

working

Factors to Consider When Working With HIV

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Man working at laptop.

Assessing the pros and cons of working with HIV.

As a result of better treatment options, more and more patients have considered finding employment and working with their HIV. As AIDSInfo states, many people living with HIV lead normal, healthy lives, including having a job. So, if you are healthy enough, and want to get back in the workforce after your HIV diagnosis, this is a possibility.

Seeking employment is a big step, though. Working with HIV has many benefits. However, many obstacles still stand in the way of many HIV-positive people seeking employment. For anyone living with HIV and looking to work, it’s important to consider these factors.

Working with HIV Has Positive Effects on Patients

When asked why they wanted to work, HIV-positive individuals cited a long list of reasons. Aside from the obvious financial benefits, a main driving force was that it increased their self-worth. For many people, what they do for a living is closely linked to how they perceive themselves. Being able to contribute in some way boosts their self-esteem.

Increased social interaction is another positive to working with HIV. Isolation is a common problem among people fighting HIV. Being around people every day creates a possibility for consistent engagement that would otherwise be harder to find.

Obstacles for HIV Patients in the Workforce

Research has found many concerns related to the possible loss of health benefits when re-entering the workforce. Depending on their healthcare plan, they may no longer be eligible to get those benefits.

They also fear the possibility of disclosure. Sensitive information of this ilk becoming public knowledge leads to worry about being discriminated against. Although there are laws in place to prevent this type of discrimination, it’s still a concern.

Working with HIV can provide financial independence and an improved sense of self-worth. But for many, the costs outweigh the benefits. Be sure to give each possibility a good amount of thought before deciding what’s best.

A 3D representation of the blood stream in the arteries. This is where HIV cellular transmission takes place.

Enlightening Effect of Observing HIV Cellular Transmission

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A 3D representation of the body's immune system. This is where HIV cellular transmission takes place.

Scientists have discovered some interesting facts about the cellular transmission of HIV and how the virus moves throughout the body.

 

The inner workings of HIV, and the effectiveness with which it is able to transmit and spread infection, are complex. HIV cellular transmission has been carefully studied now for decades. The virus establishes itself in the host a couple of ways, and new information continues to be discovered. Cell-to-cell transmission has also been observed in the lab. Scientists have now been able to track HIV as it infects cells in real time in living organisms. This has big implications for the current approach to treatment and therapy.

Immune Cellular Transmission and the Role of Mutation

In this latest study, tracking HIV cellular transmission from cell to cell revealed a number of facts. First, the infected immune cell meets up with an uninfected cell, both being CD4 helper T cells. A sort of bridge is constructed between the two, and viral material that is passed along infects the second cell. The process, according to the researchers, is similar to the way nerve cells communicate information with each other. Cellular transmission works quickly. Several copies of the virus can pass through the bridge, making mutation easier. Mutant forms of the virus make it easy to escape detection from the immune system. This potent means of infection could prompt researchers to look to new approaches for treatment. Cell-to-cell transmission may increase resistance to antibodies, and the cells seem more resistant to current treatment options.

Today, antiretroviral therapies target viral particles floating in the bloodstream. It could be that cell-to-cell transmission takes place rapidly and goes undetected until the virus can be found in the blood. Reservoirs of infected cells are found in different tissues. Once infected, the immune cells can replicate, and clusters form rapidly. Treatments focusing on limiting or halting cell-to-cell transmission may be more effective at curbing the infection than current methods. Evidence that this could be useful if applied to potential vaccines was indicated as well.

In the U.S. alone, over one million people are living with HIV, and almost 40 million cases worldwide, so the search for effective treatments continues.

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