Man tests HIV positive. Then doctor’s tell him his life expectancy won’t change – Here’s why

Despite all the wonders and marvels of the medical world, one epidemical disease, in particular, is still impossible to cure: HIV or human immunodeficiency virus. The viral infection can cause AIDS at a later stage, which in turns leads to a severely weakened immune system and often is fatal.
Although we still can’t cure HIV, we can definitely treat it. Medication for the virus has been around for a while, allowing infected people to have an otherwise healthy and normal life. Nonetheless, people who were infected with HIV always had a shorter lifespan than average, especially those who came in contact with the disease via an infected needle.
Source: HLN

Thanks to new medication and treatment, HIV-positive patients now have about the same life expectancy rate as a non-infected person.

The astonishing accomplishment is achieved thanks to the antiretroviral therapy, which combines three different drugs that halt the virus from replicating itself further into the immune system and also causes it to stop spreading to other vital body systems. Combined with the general effectiveness of the medication increasing and constantly having fewer side effects, the treatment ensures HIV-patients don’t need to worry about years being cut off from their lives.
As viruses tend to build up resistances to new medication over time, researchers have assured that resistance for this new treatment would be much harder to develop for the virus.
A study from the University of Bristol called the treatment “one of the greatest public health success stories of the past 40 years”. Nonetheless, the study also heavily emphasizes improved screening, prevention and awareness programs, as some HIV-positive people don’t even know they’re infected with the asymptotical disease.
The researchers based their findings on a test pool of 88,500 HIV-infected European and North-American people in 18 separate and independent studies. The average life-expectancy of a 20-year old with HIV with the antiretroviral therapy lies at 78 years – which is similar to the average population.
The 28-year-old Jimmy Isaacs from the UK discovered he was infected with the virus a little under three years ago by a former partner. Luckily, he was quickly diagnosed early into the HIV stadium and could quickly start treatment.
Source: Jimmy Isaacs, BBC
Every day in the evening, Jimmy needs to take three separate pills to combat the spread of the virus. Other than that, his social life and health aren’t affected by his condition at all.
“My health is absolutely fine. I’m eating healthily and drinking healthily,” he said to BBC. “It doesn’t impact on my job and hasn’t impacted on my social life either.”
It did take a while for Jimmy to find the correct types of medication, as he didn’t react positively to all of them.
“I had heard a lot of bad stories about the drugs back in the ’90s – but when I did some research, I realized the drugs had completely changed.”
Since he was diagnosed, he mentioned that not all of his past employers were supportive of him. Luckily, that clearly isn’t the case with his current boss, as he has given Jimmy some time off to spread awareness about the prevention and treatment of HIV in schools.
Medical innovation never ceases to amaze.
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Source: BBC, Featured image credit: Pakistantoday


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