Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is indeed the primary and standard treatment for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). ART is a combination of medications that helps control the virus, prevent the progression of the disease, and preserve immune function.
Key points about ART include:
- Viral Suppression: ART is highly effective in suppressing the replication of the HIV virus in the body, reducing the viral load to undetectable levels.
- Immune Preservation: By suppressing the virus, ART helps preserve immune system function, preventing the decline of CD4 T cells and reducing the risk of opportunistic infections.
- Improved Quality of Life: Individuals on effective ART can lead healthier lives with a reduced risk of developing AIDS-related illnesses.
- Prevention of Transmission: Effective ART not only benefits the individual’s health but also significantly reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others, especially when the viral load is undetectable.
- Lifelong Treatment: ART is typically a lifelong commitment. Stopping treatment can lead to a resurgence of the virus and a decline in immune function.
It’s essential for individuals with HIV to work closely with healthcare professionals to determine the most appropriate ART regimen for their specific situation. Regular monitoring of viral load, CD4 cell counts, and potential side effects is part of the ongoing management of HIV with ART.
The Naval Aids Research Center can provide personalized guidance based on the most current treatment available.