Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a viral ailment that attacks the immune system of the human body. HIV can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) if left untreated. When a person is infected with the disease, they have it for life, as there is no effective medication currently. In 2019 the number of individuals with HIV/AIDS across the globe was about 38 million. Out of this figure, 1.8 million were children below fifteen years and 36.2 million were adults. Findings also show that there are approximately 1.2 million people living with AIDS in the U.S. today (HIV.gov, 2021). HIV is a killer disease and due to the lack of a curative drug, it is a global health issue. However, applying the necessary interventions, including proper medical care can help promote health and lengthen the lifespans of the infected people.
Factors Contributing to the Spread of HIV
Factors such as ignorance, promiscuity, poverty, drug abuse, and lack of access to maternal services contribute to the spread of HIV significantly. Findings indicate that many individuals have more than one sexual partner, which increases the risk of contracting the disease (AKA, 2021). As a result, promiscuity is considered the leading contributor to the spread of this disease. Ignorance is another major factor that is driving the HIV/AIDS epidemic globally. People are aware of the virus but they continue engaging in behaviors that fuel its transmission. Leaders and experts around the world need to implement concrete measures to curb its spread.
HIV Prevention Strategies
Various measures other than behavior change through abstinence, use of a condom, and being faithful can help prevent the spread of HIV. By the mid-2000s, it was evident that HIV prevention measures needed to consider other underlying economical, socio-cultural, legal, and political factors (AKA, 2021). UNAIDS suggests that comprehensive sexuality education, access to sexual reproductive health services, and economic empowerment to populations in high-prevalence locations can curb the spread of HIV. The use of evidence-informed and human rights-based prevention for individuals at high risk is also considered an effective HIV preventive measure. In addition, strengthening national condom programs, and offering Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PreP) for people at great risk of HIV infection can help minimize the extent of the ailment.
Signs and Symptoms of HIV/AIDS
Early signs and symptoms of HIV may include chills and sweating particularly at night, fever, fatigue, diffuse rash, joint pain, muscle aches, sore throat, thrush or a yeast infection, and unintentional weight loss. The severity of these symptoms varies between gender and are dependent on the immune system of an individual. Months or years may pass after contracting the virus with no symptoms (Felman, 2021). Professionals applaud regular testing so that everyone can be aware of their HIV status. If a person does not receive effective HIV treatment, the body weakens and becomes unable to fight infections exposing it to other severe ailments such as diarrhea.
Diagnostic Tests of HIV
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test, home tests, saliva tests, viral load test, and western blot are primary techniques used to detect HIV. However, blood tests are the most widely used diagnostic methods to detect the virus (University of California San Francisco, 2021). The different methods look for antibodies that the body produce in an attempt to fight the illness. Persons exposed to HIV are supposed to be tested immediately, although it can take six weeks to a year for a body to develop these antibodies. Depending on the initial time of exposure, follow-up tests may be needed.
Advanced Practice Nursing Roles and Management Strategies
Patients with the virus require nursing psychosocial, spiritual, and physiological caregiving expertise. At the primary level, nurses have to create awareness to people on prevention methodologies. When an individual has already acquired the virus, the stage is commonly known as the secondary level. At this stage, nurses teach patients positive ways of living with the virus (University of California San Francisco, 2021). At the tertiary level, promotion of the quality of the person’s life is essential through nursing interventions such as counseling and giving support on how to deal with anger, catastrophic fears, and discouragement.
Pharmacological Management of HIV/AIDS
HIV treatment depends on its stage and any affiliated opportunistic infections. Since there is no HIV cure, medications commonly known as antiretroviral therapy (ART) are administered to control and prevent complications. ART should be started by anyone diagnosed with HIV regardless of the stage of infection or complications (Felman, 2021). Besides, management of the illness comprises of combinations of medicines from different classes. These include inhibitors such as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase, nucleoside or nucleotide reverse transcriptase, protease, and integrase inhibitors.
All HIV patients are supposed to start a daily treatment as soon as possible to strengthen their immune systems. Health officers are tasked with the responsibility of advising these patients on the importance of a balanced diet, exercising regularly, avoiding drug use, and getting enough rest (Felman, 2021). Most persons find it hard to accept their HIV statuses, especially when confirmed HIV positive. Therefore, health workers encourage patients to talk to their close friends, family members, and other individuals living with the ailment whenever faced with difficult moments attributable to their health statuses.
In conclusion, HIV has spread in all parts of the world becoming a global health issue.. The disease has no cure, and therefore, people living with HIV/AIDS are encouraged to lead a healthy life and adhere to their doctors’ instructions. Since HIV contributing factors are known, there is a need for all nations to implement the necessary measures to prevent the spread of this disease.
Aka, F. (2021). 10 major factors that influence the spread of HIV/AIDS in the developing world. Owlcation. Web.
Felman, A. (2021). HIV and AIDS: Overview, causes, symptoms, and treatments. Medicalnewstoday.com. Web.
HIV.gov. (2021). U.S. statistics. Web.
University of California San Francisco. (2021). HIV diagnosis. ucsfhealth.org. Web.