The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks your body's CD4 cells, which make up a large part of your immune system. If left untreated, your immune system will not be able to fight off the many infections it faces every day. Eventually, various opportunistic infections will accrue, causing many health problems. This condition is called acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
There are many treatment options with good side effect profile that are close to 100 percent effective if taken correctly. Dr. Gallaher has extensive experience managing and prescribing anti-retrovirals to help control the HIV virus. He also is trained to treat various opportunistic infections if they occur.
A simple blood test can determine whether or not you are HIV positive. However, the accuracy of the test depends partly on the date of the exposure. While 95 percent of people who have HIV will test positive as little as seven to 14 days after a definite exposure, that percentage increases to 99.97 percent 90 days after exposure; and with something as serious as HIV and AIDS, the additional assurance is of major importance. If you feel you have been exposed to the virus very recently but you test negatively, it may be necessary to seek an additional test a couple months later to make sure you didn't receive a false negative.
As little as five years ago, the options available to treat HIV and AIDS were few and far between, and the side effects were frequently severe. Today, due in large part to strong research funding and recent technological advancements, there are treatment options that are nearly 100 percent effective in treating the disease. Medication options help to mitigate the depletion of CD4 cells, leaving your body more able to ward off infections and diseases that you are exposed to every day. Additionally, these treatment options have significantly fewer negative side effects, providing for a better quality of life while taking the medication.
If you have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, even minor illnesses and infections can be a serious problem for your health. Dr. Gallaher has extensive experience in treating various infections if and when they occur, but it's still up to you, the patient, to take a proactive role. Making sure you are diligent about your medication regimen is an important step, but that medication is only a tool to improve your immune system; it does not protect you against infection. Also, you should schedule a visit the moment you notice symptoms of an opportunistic infection or virus. The sooner you treat the infection or illness, the faster your recovery, and the less likely it is to have more serious implications for your health and lifestyle.