HIV is no longer a death sentence. In the mid 1990s, effective treatment for HIV infection became available, and has been vastly improved over the following years. HIV is now a manageable infection. It no longer means a gradual progression to AIDS. However, treatment can be challenging, and there is also still much stigma associated with having HIV. Despite treatment advances, we understand that being diagnosed as HIV Positive can be very difficult. You may experience a range of emotions and have a lot of questions. You are not alone, Hugsa is here to help.
At Hugsa, we aim to provide the best, most thorough and most efficient care to all our patients no matter their gender, sexuality, race, religion or cultural background, as well as their HIV status. We are a proud ally to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and sex work communities. Our non-judgemental, non-stigmatising approach to our patients means you can feel safe and comfortable in asking us any questions you might have about your diagnosis, or any other health issue.
Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART)
HAART involves six classes of drugs. Each class fights the virus in a different way, blocking certain steps in virus reproduction.
When Should I Start Treatment?
The quick and simple answer is, as soon as you have been diagnosed as HIV Positive. Treatment helps to maintain the health and strength of your immune system, therefore preventing the development of health issues associated with HIV / AIDS.
Treatment helps to keep your viral load down to almost undetectable levels, which means your immune system can stay strong enough to fight the virus. Viral loads are generally highest after contracting HIV, so it is extremely important to start treatment as early as possible to reduce the impact of the virus in its early stages. Having a high viral load also means the chances of you transmitting HIV to other sexual partners is higher, so early treatment not only helps you, but your partners as well.
Taking Treatment Can Be Challenging
Medication often needs to be taken at specific times of the day and night. Some must be taken with food, while others must be taken on an empty stomach. Some therapies have side effects. Missing doses can be unhelpful and should be avoided. At Hugsa our trained Doctors will work with you in developing a safe and effective treatment plan that works for you, as well as supporting you through the process, especially during the early stages of treatment. Our Doctors will also give you advice on how to make lifestyle changes such as diet, physical exercise and accessing support such as counselling and peer support, to benefit your treatment plan.
Talking About Sexual Health and HIV
At Hugsa, our doctors, nurses and support staff are friendly, discreet and non-judgemental. We understand it can be embarrassing to talk about such private matters, but we are familiar with diagnosing and treating HIV, so you can feel comfortable talking to us and asking any questions you might have related to your sexual health.
Doctors are legally obliged to keep your personal health information, including your sexual health information private and confidential. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, or have recently had unprotected sex, make an appointment now for a non-judgemental consultation and HIV test now.