In the absence of a vaccine against HIV infection, prophylaxis is achieved with the use of ART drugs. Prophylaxis treatment received within 72 hours of exposure reduces chances of getting HIV infection.
Prophylaxis after exposure
If a patient is exposed to an infective material via routes discussed above, the patient should immediately wash the area thoroughly. He or she should immediately contact their medical provider and go to a medical facility for post-exposure prophylaxis. If the status of the person’s blood or body fluid that you came into contact with is known that can help predict the risk of contracting HIV.
If the blood or body fluid is known to be HIV-positive your risk is higher if the blood of the person tested negative the likely you have contracted the virus is very low (a slight risk is still possible if the person themselves was just exposed). Even if the person tests positive the risk may still be low, and the chance of developing HIV from a needlestick with HIV positive blood is around 0.5%. The risk of obtaining the virus from unprotected sex with a HIV positive person is about 4 in 10,000 exposures.
Prophylaxis for pregnancy
An HIV-positive woman should plan the pregnancy with close medical supervision and counseling. Prophylaxis with ART drugs will be needed to reduce risk of the baby obtaining the virus. Proper treatment can reduce the chances of mother to child transmission of HIV infection to less than 1 %.
Challenges of HIV
Eventually, serious complications develop as a result of AIDS. These include tuberculosis, fungal infections, pneumonia, cancers, inflammation of brain tissue, dementia, cardiovascular disease, neurological decline, etc. These complications often are the cause of death in people with AIDS.
As discussed earlier, HIV still has a social stigma attached to it, which can prevent more people from seeking screenings and education on the topic. In addition, it creates barriers to the acceptance of the HIV status and treatment. Luckily, in more modern cultures HIV is becoming a topic that people are more open to discussing.
In countries of the Asia and Pacific regions, however, HIV patients are likely to have higher psychosocial concerns. It is expected that the educational and awareness campaigns should increase the consciousness among various populations. This would reduce the transmission of the disease, provide support to the families, and improve treatment adherence.
HIV infection and AIDS are not curable at present. However, with the advancement of medical science and research, there is hope for a cure or vaccine in the near future. In the meantime improved management strategies and a combined multi-dimensional approach has allowed many HIV to live more than 30 years longer than in the past.