HIV Is Not Considered a Life Sentence Anymore
Since the advent of HAART, HIV is no longer considered a life sentence anymore. When HIV was discovered, being HIV-positive was considered a death sentence. However, today HIV is considered as a chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. HAART significantly suppress viral replication and lowers the plasma HIV-1 viral load to below limits of detection. When the plasma viral load is lowered, the body’s immune system is reconstituted (Arts & Hazuda, 2012). However, these drugs only suppress the HIV viral load if taken as directed. The launch of HAART reduced the harmful effects HIV. Infected people can have an almost normal lifespan just like the uninfected individuals.
The combination of different classes of medications prevents opportunistic infections that lead to the occurrence of AIDs and consequent death. In fact, the mortality of the people diagnosed with HIV has reduced significantly. In their study, Martinez and colleagues tracked 4471 people who had been diagnosed with HIV and were on HAART from 1997 to 2004. They found that between this period the death rate was only 5% (Martinez et al., 2007). The HIV-related deaths continue to decline significantly since more people have a longer life expectancy. Individuals who are dangerously unwell with HIV and at the risk of death due to disease are those who have been infected for several years and present to the healthcare facility with advanced symptoms that are no longer seen in individual on HAART. Conclusively, HIV is not a life sentence because, with HAART, the disease cannot shorten life expectancy.
Arts, E. & Hazuda, D., 2012. HIV-1 antiretroviral drug therapy. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine, 2(4), p.a007161.
Martinez, E. et al., 2007. Incidence and causes of death in HIV?infected persons receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy compared with estimates for the general population of similar age and from the same geographical area. HIV medicine, 8(4), pp.251-58.