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If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), it means you have a virus that attacks the immune system, particularly white blood cells called T-cells that normally protect you from germs that cause infections. This leaves you more vulnerable to a variety of illnesses and opportunistic infections. With HIV infection, rashes or sores on the skin, fevers, night sweats, diarrhea, yeast infections, nausea and/or vomiting, fatigue, shortness of breath, short-term memory loss, weakness in your arms or legs, weight loss, and changes in vision can all occur. Sometimes the symptoms come and go; other times, they stick around for a while.
AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the final stage of HIV infection. It can take years for someone who is infected with HIV to reach this stage, even without treatment. When someone has a very low number of T cells, has had one or more specific infections or certain cancers, that person is considered to have AIDS.
While there is no cure for HIV, the condition can be treated to prevent complications and delay the progression to AIDS. That’s why the earlier treatment is begun, the better. Your doctor and the team at VNSNY can help you manage your symptoms, slow the disease’s progression, and lead a more active life. This typically involves:
By following your doctor’s treatment regimen, you may be able to slow the progression of HIV/AIDS and enhance the quality of your life. Once your treatment is launched, your doctor will want to see you regularly to find out how well the medications you’re taking and the recommended lifestyle changes you’re making are controlling your condition. To that end, you can expect a variety of routine laboratory tests to measure your T-cell count, viral load, complete blood count, various chemicals in your blood, and other important health indicators. You’ll also be checked periodically for complications related to HIV/AIDS that can make it more challenging to control your condition.
To learn more about how the Visiting Nurse Service of New York can help you manage HIV/AIDS, click here.