Antiretroviral therapy is an effective means of combating progression of HIV infection
Although HIV infection is still incurable, antiretroviral therapy prevents the virus from developing and stops further transmission of HIV.
Yaroslava Lopatina, Country Program Director for AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in Ukraine, made this statement during a briefing dedicated to the World AIDS Day at Media Center Ukraine-Ukrinform.
“HIV infection is still incurable, but it is treatable. It can be compared to diabetes – diabetes is incurable, but it is treatable. So is HIV infection. Now there are effective drugs, they are called antiretroviral therapy – a person takes drugs that directly target the virus. They still cannot completely rid the human body of this infection, but they make it possible to control the virus to such an extent that there is very, very little of it left and it no longer affects the body negatively, a person’s health improves, they can live as long as they would live without HIV, they can do all the same things that they did without HIV – work in any field, marry, give birth to as many children as they want, travel – life does not change,” explained Yaroslava Lopatina.
She noted that now this is a very effective treatment and, moreover, very simple – just one easy-to-swallow pill a day. One just needs to remember and take the treatment regularly.
Yaroslava Lopatina noted that the therapy reduces the amount of virus so much that a person with HIV cannot transmit this virus to others – the virus is no longer detected by conventional laboratory methods and cannot be transmitted. According to her, a person who undergoes antiretroviral therapy, cannot transmit HIV to others even without wearing a condom.
However, as Yaroslava Lopatina noted, currently 30% of citizens in Ukraine do not yet know that they have HIV infection.
“Therefore, it is a key task for the healthcare and civil sectors to identify everyone who has HIV infection, and at least 95% of them must undergo antiretroviral therapy. Then we will say that the epidemic is under control, but for now it is still happening,” she concluded.
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