Treatment for New HIV Diagnosis and Undetectability Explained
If you have recently been diagnosed with HIV, it is likely you have a ton of questions. The good news is that, even though there isn’t a cure for it yet, HIV is a treatable condition. The astounding medical advances of the past few years are making it possible for people living with HIV to lead long, normal, and healthy lives.
We are here to guide you through different options and to answer any questions you may have about HIV treatment.
Antiretroviral Therapy For People Living With HIV
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks and destroys a specific type of white blood cells, thus interfering with the body’s ability to fight infections. HIV is transmitted through certain bodily fluids, usually blood, semen, and breast milk. If left untreated, HIV can slowly turn into AIDS, the most advanced and dangerous stage of HIV infection.
If you believe you may have contracted HIV, the first step you need to take is to get tested; ask your partner(s) to do the same. Even though there is no cure for the virus yet, it can be successfully controlled with the appropriate treatment.
As soon as your diagnosis is confirmed, it is important that you see a trained provider who will be able to prescribe your HIV medication. The most effective medication to control HIV is called antiretroviral therapy (often referred to as ART). If followed exactly as prescribed, ART can reduce the amount of HIV in your body to undetectable levels, allowing you to continue to live a healthy life, all while protecting your partner(s) from infection.
There are 31 ARTs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat HIV. Although these treatments do not cure HIV or AIDS, they are excellent at suppressing the virus to undetectable levels.
Pre-Exposure HIV Prevention
HIV- negative people can prevent becoming infected by taking a once-a-day pill. Pre-exposure HIV prevention, also known as PrEP, is a safe medication that is considered very effective in putting a stop to HIV transmission. PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% and at least 74% from injection drug use.
Since PrEP only protects against HIV, condom use is still advised for protection against other STDs.
HIV Undetectable Viral Load
The term “viral load” refers to the amount of HIV in your body. Antiretroviral therapy can reduce this viral load to very low levels; this process is called viral suppression. When this happens, the viral load becomes undetectable, allowing people living with HIV to lead a healthy life, all while suppressing the risk of transmitting the virus to their partners.
Having an undetectable viral load does not mean you are cured of HIV; if you stop the ART treatment, it would increase and become, once again, detectable.
Reliable HIV Care You Can Count On
Finding a knowledgeable health care provider is the first step to managing HIV and staying undetectable. At Novus, we provide confidential services and support to sexually active adults. We are here for you regardless of your gender, sexual identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or financial status.
Additionally, while we accept most major insurance policies, we also have a reduced-cost patient assistance program for those who are under or uninsured, making effective HIV care accessible for all.
Request your appointment today on our website!