HIV care refers to the medical management of HIV.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the immune cells that protect you from infections. It’s passed person-to-person when you come in contact with certain bodily fluids, usually through unprotected anal or vaginal sex or sharing needles.
Your body can’t fight off HIV. When left untreated, it leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a late-stage HIV infection that occurs when the virus severely damages the immune system.
Though there’s no cure for HIV, there are treatments that control the virus and protect your immune system from damage. Most people in the United States with HIV don’t develop AIDS because of HIV care.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the backbone of HIV care. ART is a combination of medications that prevent HIV from multiplying, reducing the viral load, or the amount of detectable levels of HIV in your body.
You should start HIV care as soon as you test positive for HIV.
It’s vital to start HIV care right away if you have an AIDS-defining condition, which is an HIV-related illness such as cytomegalovirus retinitis (CMV) or mycobacterium tuberculosis. Or if you have early HIV infection, which is the first six months of your infection.
Pregnant women with HIV also need to start HIV care immediately if they’re not already taking medication to control the virus.
Dr. Reza can help initiate your HIV care, talk to you about ART and how the medications work and provide the appropriate prescriptions.
HIV care helps you live a long and healthy life with HIV. The medications work by preventing replication of the virus, keeping your viral load low. Keeping your viral load low gives your immune system a chance to repair itself so it can protect you from infections.
A low viral load also reduces your risk of transmitting the virus to other people.
Dr. Reza schedules regular follow-up visits to check your viral load and monitor your health. He also reviews your medication regimen and helps you manage any side effects they cause.
HIV care keeps you healthy. Call Reza Health or schedule an appointment online to learn more about HIV care.