There is no cure for HIV infection. Before we had any treatment for the virus, people with AIDS lived only for a couple of years. Fortunately, medications have substantially improved the outlook and survival rates. Prevention efforts have
reduced HIV infection in young children and have the potential to limit new infections in other populations.
- Medications have extended the average life expectancy, and many people with
HIV can expect to live for decades with proper treatment. An increasing number have a normal life expectancy if they adhere carefully to medication regimens.
- Medications help the immune system recover and fight infections and prevent cancers from occurring. Eventually, the virus may become resistant to the available drugs, and the manifestations of AIDS may develop.
- Drugs used to treat HIV and AIDS do not eliminate the infection. It is important for the person to remember that he or she is still contagious even when receiving effective treatment.
- Intensive research efforts are being focused on developing new and better treatments. Although currently there is no promising vaccine, work continues on this front.
|This transmission electron micrographic image shows mature forms of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in a tissue sample. (SOURCE: CDC)
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