Cocktail: a combination of drugs
A highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART, is sometimes referred to as the AIDS cocktail. While these treatments are not considered a cure, they can delay progression to AIDS, reduce complications, and support the immune system by reducing HIV copies, blocking HIV’s entry into a cell. They reduce the amount of the active virus. Cocktails are used to treat both HIV positive patients and AIDS patients. Early detection … GET TESTED!
At one point in history, there was no treatment at all. Then came AZT (in 1987), essentially the one treatment option before cocktails. AZT, from what I remember, had the reputation of being a killer in and of itself. I knew people who refused AZT after seeing what others went through.
Cocktails came out in the 90’s. HAART became the aggressive medication regimen, typically consisting of three or more medications. They increased hope and life expectancy, and the possibility of being HIV positive without getting sick from AIDS.
Finding the right cocktail, as with any medical treatment, can be frustrating and full of side effects. Be informed of your choices, the pros and cons of any medication changes, and communicate with your doctor(s).
Medication compliance can be an issue with many different types of patients…from the emotional aspect, getting into the routine, dealing with side effects, and a number of other individual personal obstacles. Compliance, no breaks from treatment, can be one of the biggest obstacles in the effectiveness of the cocktail treatment regimen. It can result in HIV strains that are more resistant to treatment, and the viral load can rapidly raise. A safer and more effective solution is for doctors and patients to work together to decide to possibly switch the meds to something more tolerable, or integrate other medications to offset side effects.
This is obviously a simplistic explanation. I urge you to take advantage of all the resource materials out there. Information can be found here on Eden Cafe, SexIs magazine, medical websites, and personal blogs.
Get informed, hear people’s stories, donate, and get tested on a regular basis.
If diagnosed, you have an excuse for a cocktail. (forgive my inappropriate humor, we all have our own ways of dealing with things.)
originally posted on EdenCafe.com