People affected by HIV have their immunity levels decreased to dangerous levels, therefore have a tougher time dealing with exhaustion and fatigue. HIV patients have a plethora of challenges to overcome and fatigue remains one of the hardest to cope with. Fatigue not only affects the body, but also the mind and the reduction of fatigue can certainly enable the HIV infected individuals to continue their battle, longer and harder. Understanding how HIV acts in a human body and in what way it brings about fatigue would be crucial to find the means to tackle it.
What is HIV?
HIV or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and HIV is a lent virus. The transfer of bodily fluids such as blood, semen, breast milk and vaginal fluids can cause the disease.HIV is basically a condition where the immune system is severely affected and in time becomes a complete failure. With the immune system compromised, the person with HIV is more at risk of contracting diseases and infections of various sorts.
The impact of HIV treatment
A person affected with HIV can survive for 9-11 years without any treatment, but effective and timely treatment can significantly prolong the person’s lifespan. A lot of the treatment for HIV goes towards fighting the HIV virus in the blood, and the affected individuals do show better energy levels in time. But certain medications can also cause fatigue in HIV patients.
HIV and Fatigue
Majority of the affected person’s energy is spent in dealing with the human immunodeficiency virus and added to that they have to fight the diseases they are contracting as a result of the compromised immune system. All this leads to them becoming fatigued rather easily and more frequently. Some medications used to treat a plethora of diseases HIV patients contract as a result of the weakened immunity, also has fatigue as a side effect. When the battle against HIV, the diseases contracted as a consequence and the medications to deal with them, all contribute to the drop in the patient’s energy levels, fatigue would definitely be a big challenge to overcome.
Treating Fatigue in HIV patients
Certain treatment methods to tackle HIV, as mentioned before, can also lead to more fatigue. So to help deal with fatigue in those suffering with HIV, a medicine like Modafinil comes as a big relief.
It is a wakefulness-promoting medication, used primarily for treating people with neuropsychiatric disorders and it has shown great promise in increasing the alertness, productivity and attention of affected individuals. HIV patients administered with Modafinil have certainly displayed more energy, in turn a better mood (though the medication doesn’t directly impact the mood of the patients) than certain other medications. It impacts the neurotransmitters in the brain and increases the levels of Dopamine, Histamine, Orexins, GABA, serotonin and glutamate. A proper sleep can help bring down fatigue levels and this pill increases histamine levels in the hypothalamus region which in turn causes good sleep.
Vitamin and mineral rich food along with medications can certainly help HIV patients battle more efficiently against the various complications they are likely to face. Several organizations also exist to help HIV patients in their battle against the fatal disease. Better diagnosis and treatment methods have to be developed to better handle HIV and the diseases contracted as a consequence and all this require a lot of money and brain power. For this very reason, organizations comprising of HIV patients, their advocates, several charity trusts, foundations, scientific, developmental and research institutions, private sector and NGOs have come together in a coalition called ITAC. Improving the availability and affordability of HIV treatment is the primary goal of all parties, who are part of ITAC and they strive to contribute as much as they could possibly can to overcome HIV.