Posts tagged HIV healthcare
Many agencies, clinics, and other facilities support health care programs to help care for patients who are HIV positive. Certain agencies look after treatment and track progress, while others care for emotional and mental needs of those in this circumstance. Even religious organizations play a role in some of the existing programs that are reaching out to help those with HIV. Two recent studies looked closer at the work being done to support these patients, and they found ways to make these programs even more cost-effective and efficient.
Improving Health Care Programs
Community support for those with HIV is important. Such support can be shown in a variety of ways. On the physical side of things, access to treatment, information for prevention, and testing, are crucial to stemming the outbreak. Many with HIV look to programs that offer both counseling and social support. Research continues to show that when all these areas are being addressed, patients fair better.
So, how can these programs and institutions improve?
- Optimizing effectiveness when agencies remove a sense of competitiveness with others in the area that are also treating or helping those with HIV infections.
- Developing networks would help encourage patients to seek out all avenues of help within an area, instead of focusing on just one.
- Focusing more efforts on HIV prevention is an area of particular interest for experts.
- Giving more attention to education on this matter can have lasting effects on the overall war against the disease.
- Making information more readily available means reaching more people.
To be successful, health care programs need to be accessible to those they are reaching out to serve. Some suggestions on improving in this area include having web-based meetings as an option to those who may not be able to attend in person.
Implementing a few of these simple suggestions could touch more lives, improve quality of life, and help reduce the spread of infection. By cooperating, networking, increasing the availability of pertinent information, and increasing how many can participate in the health care programs – the number of those who could benefit will increase. The effectiveness of such programs and institutions is undeniable. Imagine the effects if these were streamlined and if they put the aforementioned suggestions into practice.
Healthcare providers want the best possible outcome for each patient. Careful consideration is given to treatment plans when it comes to HIV-positive patients. This diligence increases the potential for a good prognosis and a long and relatively healthy life. Management of such therapies is crucial. However, it is noted that nearly half of HIV-positive patients fail to show up for their scheduled HIV treatment. Instead, the tendency is to put it off. When they do arrive, they are usually immunocompromised. This term describes the drastically reduced number of key immune cells within the body. Fewer immune cells means fewer possibilities for survival.
What this Trend Means
Researchers worry that this trend of delaying treatment is greatly increasing morbidity rates among those with HIV. HIV therapy does more than just attempt to reduce the viral load within the body. Treatment is also crucial to rebuilding the immune system. Because HIV attacks CD 4 T-cells, the number of those cells usually found in an HIV-positive patient is dangerously low before treatment. Once a regimen has been started, adhering to the schedule can help the immune cells mount a comeback. Without this, disease progression, AIDS, and death rates begin to rise.
The Importance of the Immune System
When the immune system is restored, and the viral count kept low, life expectancy increases dramatically. Repairing the immune system is the greater concern, because patients can live with a higher viral load if immunological levels are increased. This emphasizes the need for regular treatment and testing. When immune response numbers increase, patients fare better. Of course, lowering the viral load is still important, but newer research is proving that the immune recovery is most critical.
Prompt diagnosis for HIV treatment is vital when it comes to this voracious virus. The good news is, disease progression can now be halted, even in severe cases, when the proper action is taken. For patients undergoing treatment, don’t skip your appointments! Boosting your immune system gives you the fighting chance you need to combat and slow down HIV. The only way to see those results is to honor your treatment schedule.
As HIV prevention, testing and treatment continue to advance, HIV positive patients on a treatment plan remain healthier, living longer lives. As new information pours in, researchers scramble to further progress their understanding and approach to the disease. Methods used to slow disease progression and curb mortality rates are proving more and more successful. Yet, in spite of such advances, the struggle with HIV is still a slow, tragic war. Why might you ask?
What Is Holding Us Back from Defeating HIV?
More cases are reported every year, and it is estimated that millions have the infection without knowing it. Herein lies the danger. Those unaware HIV carriers often infect others. Spreading of the virus is one of the major roadblocks to its eradication.
Why Individuals Avoid Testing
Studies on why so many people with HIV refuse testing or treatment have come to a simple conclusion: fear. Fear is helping HIV survive the war. Whether it’s fear of the disease or the associated social stigmas, it remains the number one reason people do not get tested.
The psychology behind the behavior needs to change. Any chronic condition carries with it a strong measure of fear. HIV is no exception. However, those advances mentioned earlier are reason for hope. Hope supported by reality. Today, HIV testing can be performed at home. If the result is positive, treatments are available. What once arrived with a death sentence is now a treatable condition. Slowing the progression from HIV to AIDS is now a regular occurrence. HIV positive people can enjoy a long life and enjoy a full and happy one too. And more than every the public needs to understand this new chapter in the war on HIV.
Courage Reaps Benefits
Fear of a diagnosis is no reason to put off testing. Hope lives. Fear kills. Early detection leads to more positive outcomes, like HIV prevention, and management of the viral infection. This is the message healthcare professionals encourage. Educating the public on the facts, rather than the fears of HIV, saves lives, prevents future infections, and will help us to one day eliminate the virus for good.
How HIV Testing and Prevention Can Be Improved
Despite advances in the treatment of HIV, some find it challenging to continue treatment, or even seek HIV testing or treatment in the first place. More and more research points to certain social stigmas as a possible cause. Some such stigmas are gay or bisexual black men are at the highest risk of contracting HIV. While they make up a small percentage of the population, they have the highest percentage of new cases – nearly 75% in just a span of a couple years. Experts are not only concerned with proper treatment of the disease, but also the lack of prevention tactics. Areas called Safe Spaces have proven beneficial for individuals with HIV or those at the highest risk of contracting the virus.
What Is a Safe Space?
A Safe Space can be a physical location or one on the Internet. It’s a place where individuals who feel shunned by society, their families, religion, or other institutions can come together and feel welcomed. Studies continually show that when people feel connected to others and receive support, they fare better with their diagnosis and maintain treatment schedules. It is well documented that Safe Spaces become acceptable and common hangouts for those who are HIV positive.
Challenges Facing Safe Spaces
The main challenge with the safe spaces program is, of course, funding. Budget cuts are common, and Safe Spaces are often the first to go. It is hoped that further studies of the value of such programs will be acknowledged instead of underestimated. Current research is underway as to how such spaces might contribute to the prevention of HIV. Those who frequent the Safe Spaces, but do not test positive, can be given medication to help the body prevent a future infection. As long as the safe space is there, this preventative measure could help many from contracting HIV. Other studies are examining how Safe Spaces may help other health issues, such as Hepatitis C, that carry a stigma.
The sense of community provided by Safe Spaces allows individuals to feel secure and open to have HIV testing, prevention and treatment. Experts are convinced that these spaces will prove invaluable tools for reaching those who lack other options.
There is a reason that HIV is once again on the rise for young homosexual men. A recent study revealed that only about 20% of individuals in this high-risk group have ever been tested for the disease. Testing is critical for multiple reasons. For example, it can aid in the prevention of further transmission as well as get the infected individual lifesaving treatment. So why are so few getting tested?
“Where Can I Get an HIV Test?”
One of the primary reasons that young gay men say they have never been tested is because they simply do not know where to go for testing. One suggestion is that schools begin to provide testing, so that teens do not need to look for a place to get tested.
“What If Someone Sees Me?”
No one wants to be known as the kid at school with HIV. It is still tough enough for many gay teens to be known as a homosexual. Now add to that the stigma of being seen going for testing. It sends a message that kids don’t want to broadcast in world full of bullies and fearmongering.
“It Will Never Happen to Me”
Most teens feel invincible. They may say, “I take precautions. I’ll never get it,” or, “I know my partner isn’t infected.” Unfortunately, that sort of thinking is the perfect breeding ground for the spread of HIV.
The Wrong Trend
In 2008, a study of gay 18 and 19-year-old males showed that three-quarters had been tested for HIV. The drop in the number of young men getting tested has fallen significantly in just a few short years. This is a big deal when we’re talking about the single highest-risk group on the planet for the contraction of HIV.
Researchers see knowledge and ease of access as the primary means to combat this negative trend. Providing testing in schools would take away some of the stigma and make it easier for teens to get tested. This, in turn, can lead to greater prevention and earlier treatment, something vital for a high success rate.