MOH News
Dr. Al-Haqawi: “The AIDS Patient's Adhering to a Treatment Plan Makes it More Effective”
10 December 2013
Dr. Ahmed al-Haqawi, a consultant physician of infectious diseases at King Fahad Medical City (KFMC), has stated that the symptoms of AIDS/HIV infection varies from one person to another, according to the way of transmission and the early infection phase. Most people who get infected with the immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS) suffer similar symptoms as those associated with influenza, for a limited period of time (two to six weeks), which the patient overlooks and pays only little regard to, since they are such mild symptoms as runny nose, etc.
He went on to explain that, at the early stage of infection, a battle rages between the CD4 cells and HIV virus for eight or nine years without taking a notice. In other words, the symptoms, in most cases, don't appear at the early stage. And by the end of this stage, mild or chronic symptoms appear, such as enlarged lymph nodes, which usually mark the initial signs of HIV/AIDS infection. Other initial signs include: diarrhea, weight loss, fever, cough, and shortness of breath (dyspnea).
Dr. al-Haqawi provided this explanation while being interviewed by the MOH Media and Health Awareness Information Center. He answered the callers' questions, via the toll-free number: 8002494444, as well as the questions of the followers of the MOH account on Twitter: @saudimoh.
According to Dr. al-Haqawi, more acute symptoms begin to appear, including ongoing obscure exhaustion, night sweating, shiver, fever (over 38 C) for several weeks, enlargement of phlegmatic glands for more than three months, chronic diarrhea and continuing headache. The AIDS infection is an opportunistic one; i.e., it does not affect people with healthy immune system. Symptoms and signs according to the type of infection.
“There is no effective cure for AIDS thus far,” al-Haqawi continued. “The available treatments, however, can slow down the development of the disease, and thus improve the quality of the patient's life. This is what we call the highly effective anti-virus treatment. It is usually composed of three or more drugs. And the AIDS treatment differs in accordance with the immunodeficiency, which is also called the viral load. It is measured at the outset of infection, and then regularly each three or four months of treatment. And in some cases the measurement is needed even more frequently.”
The drugs used for AIDS treatment include anti-viral drugs and integration suppressant drugs. Anti-viral drugs are necessary for slowing down the growth and multiplication of the HIV/AIDS. Whereas integration suppressant drugs are necessary for curtailing the viral multiplication by preventing integration between the viral membrane and that of the lymph cells (CD4).
“Whenever the AIDS patient adheres to the prescribed treatment plan,” al-Haqawi said, “he is thereby enhancing the effectiveness of treatment, making AIDS a chronic disease, just as any other chronic disease (diabetes, hypertension, etc.), and he will not suffer particular symptoms that make him appear different from normal people.”

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