Human immunodeficiency virus infection
Doctors often recommend drug therapy for patients who are committed to taking all their medications and have a CD4 count below 500 cells/mm3 (indicating their immune system is suppressed). Some people, including pregnant women and people with kidney or neurological problems related to HIV, may need treatment regardless of their CD4 count.
It is extremely important for people with HIV to take all doses of their medications, otherwise the virus may become resistant to the drugs. Therapy always involves a combination of antiviral drugs. Pregnant women with HIV infection are treated to reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to their babies.
People with HIV infection need to become educated about the disease and treatment so that they can be active participants in making decisions with their health care provider.
See: AIDS - support group
HIV is a chronic medical condition that can be treated, but not yet cured. There are effective ways to prevent complications and delay, but not always prevent, progression to AIDS.
Almost all people infected with HIV will develop AIDS if not treated. However, there is a small group of people who develop AIDS very slowly, or never at all. These patients are called long-term nonprogressors.
Call your health care provider if you have had a possible or actual exposure to AIDS or HIV infection.
Piot P. Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: A global overview. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 407.
Del Rio C, Curran JW. Epidemiology and prevention of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and human immunodeficiency virus infection. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 118.
Sterling TR, Chaisson RE. General clinical manifestations of human immunodeficiency virus infection (including the acute retroviral syndrome and oral, cutaenous, renal, ocular, metabolic, and cardiac diseases. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 121.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885