timesofummah.com – Why HIV Medicine Must Be Taken Continuously. Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is a virus that attacks immune cells, namely CD4 cells. If HIV is left untreated, it can develop into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS.
The continuous decrease in the body’s immunity makes a person more susceptible to opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis to several types of cancer. However, the risk of more severe disease and opportunistic infections can be reduced by taking HIV drugs regularly. So, why do HIV drugs have to be taken all the time? Here’s an explanation.
1. Should antiretroviral drugs be taken continuously?
HIV treatment uses antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). HIV Info explains that antiretrovirals are used in combination every day.
ARVs cannot cure HIV and the virus remains in the body. The goal of HIV treatment is not to cure the disease, but to reduce the viral load to undetectable levels. Therefore, people with HIV must still take HIV drugs according to a doctor’s prescription. When you stop taking the drug, the viral load will rise again quickly.
2. Why do HIV drugs have to be used continuously?
ARVs do not kill the HIV virus. The drug only inhibits the life cycle of the virus so that the virus cannot replicate and make copies of the virus. Since it can’t make new copies of the virus, the amount of virus in the body decreases. By decreasing the number of viruses, it is easier for the immune system to fight infection.
As Verywell Health explains, when ARV treatment is used regularly, the amount of virus will drop to the point where it is undetectable. Undetected does not mean that the virus in the body has disappeared or is zero, but the amount is so small that it is almost undetectable by the test equipment used.
3. Skipping treatment makes the number of viruses more and more
Taking the recommended daily HIV medication helps keep the viral load low and the CD4 cell count high. When you skip treatment, it is tantamount to giving the virus an opportunity to develop into more.
The number of viruses that multiply causes the immune system to weaken so that it becomes easy to get sick. People with HIV who take HIV drugs as prescribed by their doctor and keep their viral load within an undetectable range can lead healthy lives.
4. The number of viruses increases the risk of infection to cancer
When left untreated, HIV attacks the immune system, increasing the risk of life-threatening infections. Not only is it at risk of infection, HIV can also cause the development of several types of cancer.
When the immune system cannot function properly it increases the risk of opportunistic infections. Opportunistic infections usually do not affect people with good immunity. Opportunistic infections affect those who are not receiving treatment and whose immune systems are weakened by HIV.
5. Viruses have the ability to hide in the body
HIV drugs must still be taken regularly even if the viral load results are undetectable. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease explains that even when the viral load is undetectable, HIV is still present in the body. This is because the virus can be in an inactive or dormant state in the body’s cells.
If the treatment is stopped, the virus that was originally in a dormant or inactive state reappears and begins to multiply. Therefore, it is important to take the drug regularly as directed so as to achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load.
6. Skipping treatment causes the virus to mutate into drug resistance
Taking HIV drugs every day is very important because skipping doses makes it easier for the virus to change into drug-resistant forms. When HIV is not controlled, the virus makes copies of the virus quickly. Every time the virus makes copies in the body, it sometimes mutates to produce a new form of the virus. Mutations that occur can cause the virus to become less sensitive to treatment or often referred to as drug resistance.
When drug resistance occurs, drugs that used to work no longer work well. Because the virus is more resistant, there are fewer choices of drugs used. This causes the failure of HIV treatment. Using HIV drugs according to a doctor’s prescription can help prevent drug resistance from occurring.
ARV drugs must be taken regularly to maintain the viral load until it is undetectable. That way, the number of immune cells remains high so they can fight infection.
Not using HIV drugs regularly can cause more and more viruses, increase the risk of infection, so that the virus mutates to become drug-resistant or resistant so that treatment becomes more difficult.