We may be moving towards an era when treating HIV earlier becomes the norm, but it appears that many still don’t understand the benefits of treatment; and how far HIV medicine has come.
Ian Down from the Kirby Institute discovered this when he interviewed people who had only recently been diagnosed. Participants in the Seroconversion Study were asked about their knowledge of HIV treatments and their feelings about the prospect of beginning treatment.
Many were fearful of potential side-effects, of body shape changes and other toxicities. Some believed that taking treatment would remind them of HIV too much and still held onto the grim media images of the past.Some people had reservations about having to take pills for the rest of their lives, others about their need to be adherent and some participants even believed that starting treatment would signal them giving up independence and control over their bodies.
Others, however, felt that treating earlier, rather than later, was the preferred option as they wanted a sense of control over the virusA small infective organism which is incapable of reproducing outside a host cell., to have their viral loadA measurement of the quantity of HIV RNA in the blood. Viral load blood test results are expressed as the number of copies (of HIV) per milliliter of blood plasma. undetectable and to be less infectious to others.
Down concluded that providing recently diagnosed people with the information and support they needed to make these decisions was vital if early initiation of treatment is to be encouraged.