Module #9 Assignment
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MAIN RESEARCH QUESTION: To what extent has HIV/AIDS treatment changed due to recent medications?
Section #1 – What are the new HIV/AIDS medications?
Section #2 – What are the effects of the new HIV/AIDS medications?
Section #3 – How has these new HIV/AIDS medications changed the disease from acute to chronic?
What Are the New HIV/AIDS Medications?
When the human autoimmune deficiency disease was first diagnosed it had a profound impact on society. Soon the disease spread and deaths from the disease rose as well. Death became synonymous with the diagnoses of HIV/AIDS. However, this has all changed with the creation of new and improved medications.
In 1996, new medications were introduced to treat the human autoimmune deficiency disease (HIV/AIDS). The first group of medications introduced was classified as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). NRTIs act by blocking the virus from duplicating, therefore preventing its spread in the body. However, when these medications were first introduced in treatment the side effects soon outweighed its benefits, hence resulting in an unsuccessful outcome. As Kirton (2008) mentions, “This approach provided some survival benefit but more often led to an increase in drug-related adverse reactions, ranging from nausea to painful peripheral neuropathy to life-threatening pancreatitis (44). In order to resolve the problem new categories of drugs were created to augment the NRTIs. These new classes were non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), protease inhibitors (PIs) as well as other smaller classes. Soon everything turned around and these drugs, along with NRTIs, experienced successful results. A combination from two different classes was found to be highly effective in treating HIV/AIDS (Kirton, 2011). The actions of these medications are to block the virus from replicating at different phases of the virus’ development. Therefore, for the newly diagnosed patient, a regimen of NRTIs, with either a PI or an NNRTI was prescribed (Kirton, 2008). These medications are now referred to as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). As stated, the best long-term outcomes where found to occur when two classes of HAART drugs are combined (Kirton, 2011).
These drugs have been very successful in the treatment of HIV/AIDS by saving lives. A major benefit is that this medication prolongs the lives of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Data shows that as of 1996 HIV positive people are living longer because of these new medications (WHO, 2009). This new treatment has prolonged the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. As a result, there is a growth in our population of those living with HIV/AIDS (Kirton, 2011). For example in 1996, 239,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS as compared with 1,142,714 in 2009 (CDC.gov). ßINCORRECT CITATION Furthermore, these new medications have prolonged the life of an HIV positive person similar to those without HIV (Goodwin, 2010). In approximately twenty years since its creation an estimated “30 million years” has been saved (Kirton, 2008, p. 44). Moreover, the success of HAART medications has made HIV/AIDS a chronic and manageable disease. (Kirton, 2011). With this said, people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS can live a longer and productive life.
These new HAART medications have changed HIV/AIDS from an acute disease with a death sentence to a chronic one with a normal life expectancy. This is apparent as HIV/AIDS positive people are now seen in every age group managing this chronic disease (Kirton, 2011). Since the implementation of HAART medications deaths attributed to HIV/AIDS has also been reduced (WHO, 2009). In 1996, there were 39,200 deaths as opposed to 17,374 in 2008 (CDC, 2009). This proves that more people are living longer with HIV/AIDS because of the new medications (WHO, 2009). In fact, this new therapy is prolonging lives similar to those people without an HIV/AIDS diagnoses (Goodwin, 2010). Antiretroviral medications have increased survival by thirteen years (Kirton, 2011). With this in mind, the use of HAART medications has transformed an acute disease to a chronic manageable disease (Kirton, 2011).
Based on the above, the new HAART medications have caused a major transformation of HIV/AIDS. It is no longer a deadly disease, but a chronic manageable one. With that said not only is the patient affected, but the whole healthcare system as well as society.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009). Diagnosis of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States and dependant areas, 2009. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats/
Goodwin, J. (2010, October 28). More older Americans living with HIV. Health Day. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com/
Kirton, C.A. (2008). Managing long-term complications of HIV infection. Nursing 2008, 38, 44-49.
Kirton, C.A. (2011). HIV the changing epidemic. Nursing 2011, 41, 36-43.
World Health Organization [WHO]. 2009. New HIV infections reduced by 17% over the past eight years. Geneva. Retrieved from http://www.ask.com
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