Monitoring and Treatment for HIV
Today, with regular health monitoring by a HIV prescribing doctor and by consistently taking antiretroviral therapy (ART), people living with HIV can expect to live long healthy lives.
This is very different to the 1980’s and early 1990’s, when being diagnosed with HIV or AIDS usually meant a person would expect to die within a decade.
Our team of doctors and nurses are highly experienced in all aspects of the medical management of HIV and work with clients to maximise their health and wellbeing.
What is ART Therapy?
Antiretroviral therapy, previously known as combination therapy or HAART, has been available in Australia since 1996 and is the standard treatment available today to prevent the progression of HIV. This therapy consists of 3 or more different HIV ART medications from at least 2 different classes of medication given in combination.
Additional medications may also be prescribed to boost the immune system and/or to prevent infections that a weakened immune system could be vulnerable to.
How does ART therapy work?
ART works by reducing the amount of HIV produced in the body. It does this by impairing the virus’s ability to reproduce. When there is less HIV in a person’s body, the weakened immune system’s CD4 cells have time to reproduce and build up immunity levels giving the body a greater ability to fight off other infections.
What needs to be monitored?
At a minimum, 4 monthly monitoring of the following needs to be done:
- CD4 count (higher is better)
- viral load (lower is better)
The doctor may order other tests depending on health status.
People with HIV can be at more risk of some physical and mental health problems than other people. Some things that are particularly important are:
- Screening for sexually transmissible infections
- Assessing your risk of other illnesses including tuberculosis
- Vaccinating you against certain illnesses, such as viral hepatitis and seasonal influenza
- Annual PAP smears for women living with HIV
- Supporting a healthy lifestyle through exercise, nutrition and weight management and mental health
- Helping you to quit smoking and reduce your alcohol and other drug use
- Medication management
Your Albion nurse can give you advice and, where appropriate, refer you to other health care providers.
To make an appointment call reception on 02 9332 9600.
If you are a GP and wish to refer a client to Albion, click here for referral information.