Health care interventions

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:46 pm
Though health care intervention can't eliminate HIV, it may make a positive difference in your lifespan. Treating the disease early may delay the onset of AIDS, and can help prevent infections that pose a major threat to your health. The goal of most HIV therapy is to keep your 'viral load,' or the measurable quantity of virus in your blood, as low as possible, for as long as possible. Typically, this is achieved with a combination of anti-retroviral drugs, often referred to as a 'drug cocktail.' While anti-viral drugs can be effective for many patients, they seem to have the greatest impact when used as a first-time treatment, during the initial period of HIV infection. It's also important to ward off opportunistic infections; for this purpose, doctors may prescribe routine antibiotics. Opportunistic infections are diseases often associated with AIDS that typically strike when your immune system is weak. By treating these diseases, doctors can often extend your life. A comprehensive intervention program may also feature AIDS education and counseling, stress management techniques, and dietary or lifestyle advice. While doctors don't know if an unhealthy lifestyle can affect the rate at which you develop AIDS, it's generally suggested that you avoid behaviors that might tax your immune system. To learn more, consult an experienced physician.

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