Globally, 36.7 million people are living with HIV and only 18.2 million are receiving treatment.
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is a virus that can cause a disease called AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). HIV infection affects the immune system, the body's natural defences against disease. If the virus is not treated, serious diseases can occur. Mild infections, such as influenza or bronchitis, can get worse and become very difficult to treat or even lead to death.
HIV is transmitted through body fluids: blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk.
Symptoms of the evolution of the infection towards AIDS:
• Swollen lymph nodes
• Weight loss
• Muscle pain
**How is HIV detected? **
HIV testing is the detection of HIV status, that is, the presence of HIV antibodies in a blood sample. The reference method used is the combined ELISA test, based on a blood test. This test is reliable as early as 6 weeks after risk-taking for HIV transmission. In case of a positive result, this test must be completed with another screening test, the Western Blot.
There is also a rapid screening test or ROTD (Rapid Orientation Test for HIV Diagnosis). The result of this test is reliable three months after risk-taking for HIV transmission.
Medicaim organizes HIV testing counselling and treatment with infectious diseases specialists and hospitals around the world.
Duration of hospital stay
1 to 3 days.
The patient can leave the hospital after the examinations and consultation.
Average length of stay
1 to 2 weeks.
The length of stay varies according to the treatments.
Several trips may be necessary.
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Once a person has been diagnosed as HIV-positive, the infectious disease doctor has some additional tests done to assess the severity of the infection and choose a possible treatment.
In some cases, the doctor may request an assessment of HIV sensitivity to the different drugs available (phenotype) or an analysis of its genetic structure (genotype). These laboratory tests, carried out on the basis of a blood sample, make it possible to identify viruses that are resistant to a certain type of antiviral drug.
During the initial check-up, the doctor has additional tests carried out to identify possible other infections (hepatitis B and C, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, tuberculosis), liver, kidney or cardiovascular disorders, osteoporosis. If necessary, he or she has his or her patient's vaccinations updated.
The infectious disease doctor will inform the patient of the progress of the treatment.
The patient will be seen in consultation with the infectious disease physician. The average consultation lasts from 1 to 2 hours.
The doctor prescribes HIV treatment when the CD4 lymphocyte count falls below 500/mm3 of blood. The decision to start treatment also takes into account the viral load (a detectable viral load or one that tends to increase over time also indicates the need for HIV treatment).
Below 350 CD4/mm3 lymphocytes of blood, treatment is necessary, all the more quickly as the person has already developed an opportunistic disease.
In people with more than 500 CD4/mm3 lymphocytes in their blood, regular monitoring (every six months) of viral load and CD4 lymphocytes is carried out.
The primary objective of treatments for HIV/AIDS infection is to reduce the amount of HIV in the blood as much as possible. The viral load must become undetectable.
Les médicaments utilisés contre le VIH sont des substances qui ont été conçues pour bloquer différentes étapes de la multiplication du VIH ou pour réduire sa capacité à infecter de nouveaux lymphocytes CD4 : ce sont des médicaments dits « antiviraux » ou « antirétroviraux ».
Once antiviral therapy has been initiated, the viral load must be restored to undetectable no later than six months after the start of treatment. If this is not the case, the treatment can be maintained, but a viral load still detectable after one year means that the treatment is not sufficiently effective. After the treatment is implemented, control blood tests are performed at the end of one month, then every three months in the first year. Then, if the treatment is effective, checks with the infectious disease doctor take place every three or four months, or even twice a year if the CD4 lymphocytes are greater than 500/mm3.
The possible side effects:
• Sore throat
• Weight loss
• Metabolic disorders
• Psychological problems
• Sexual problems
A screening test is systematically proposed by the doctor:
• if the person has had unprotected sex with a partner who doesn't know if he/she is infected with HIV or after a rape
• upon diagnosis of another sexually transmitted infection
• when diagnosed with hepatitis B or C
• when diagnosed with tuberculosis
• during a prenuptial check-up
• during the follow-up of a pregnancy or termination of pregnancy
• when first prescribing contraception.
Condoms are an effective means of protection against AIDS and certain other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
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MEDICAIM organizes your entire stay for you: post-operative nursing care, biological follow-up, therapeutic, nutritional and psychological support.
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