HIV Treatment in Singapore: HIV is a virus that damages the immune system, leaving one vulnerable to other infections. It’s acquired through bodily fluids (blood and sex). Treatment can help to manage the illness.
There are medications available that can help to manage HIV. Treatment with these medications is called antiretroviral therapy, or ART. There are several different types of antiretrovirals available, and treatment usually uses a combination of multiple medications, to get the highest effectiveness. Using several medications at once is often called highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART.
Doctors don’t all agree on when antiretroviral therapy should be started in people with HIV. Some organizations believe that it should be started as soon as positive HIV status is confirmed. This is because the treatment can reduce the transmission of the virus to others, and may reduce the risk of the disease progressing. However, the World Health Organization recommends waiting to start treatment with antiretrovirals until the disease has progressed to a certain point (where the CD4 count is less than 500). This is partly related to resource scarcity; it’s expensive to treat everyone who has HIV, so the medications are reserved for those who need them most. If you get HIV in Singapore, then you will most likely be treated early. If you can’t afford the treatment, Medifund will help to pay for it, as long as you prove your need.
Everyone agrees that once antiretroviral medications are started, they should never be stopped or paused for any length of time. The person will need these medications for the rest of his or her life. This is because stopping the medications raises the chances that a resistant virus will emerge, making the medications less effective in the future. Studies have also shown that people who take breaks from their HIV medications are more likely to get infections and cancers than those who take the drugs continuously. While switching to different antiretrovirals may be considered, the treatment should be considered a lifelong commitment.
Antiretroviral therapy has made AIDS far more rare than it was a generation ago. Rather than a death sentence, HIV is now often considered a chronic illness that requires management, much like diabetes. This is absolutely not to minimize the illness, because it can be quite serious; however, with thoughtful and consistent treatment, it can be kept under control and the patient can live a long life. If you are in Singapore, HIV is likely to be a manageable condition.