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HIV/AIDS

AIDS is a collection of symptoms known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

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(Source: NIH - National Human Genome Research Institute)

About HIV/AIDS

AIDS was first reported in the United States in 1981 and has since become a major worldwide epidemic. AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. By killing or damaging cells of the body's immune system, HIV progressively destroys the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers. People diagnosed with AIDS may get life-threatening diseases called opportunistic infections. These infections are caused by microbes such as viruses or bacteria that usually do not make healthy people sick....Read more about HIV/AIDS NIH - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Meta-analysis of effect on HIV/AIDS intervention in floating population

Bibliographic details: Yu C, Sun Y H, Sun L, Wang B, Cao H Y.  Meta-analysis of effect on HIV/AIDS intervention in floating population. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2008; 8(5): 322-327

Patient support and education for promoting adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS

People living with HIV/AIDS are required to achieve high levels of adherence to benefit from many antiretroviral regimens. This review identified 19 studies involving a total of 2,159 participants that evaluated an intervention intended to improve adherence. Ten of these studies demonstrated a beneficial effect of the intervention. We found that interventions targeting practical medication management skills, those administered to individuals vs groups, and those interventions delivered over 12 weeks or more were associated with improved adherence to antiretroviral therapy. We also found that interventions targeting marginalized populations such as women, Latinos, or patients with a past history of alcoholism were not successful at improving adherence. We did not find studies that evaluated the quality of the patient‐provider relationship or the clinical setting. Most studies had several methodological shortcomings.

Setting and organization of care for persons living with HIV/AIDS

Policy makers and health workers need evidence about how and where to provide care for people living with HIV/AIDS. This review identified 28 studies involving 39,776 study subjects that examined these questions. Centres with a lot of HIV/AIDS patients often had lower death rates. The number of patients needed to get these results was very different in each study so it is not clear what the right number is. Settings with case management had fewer deaths and had higher use of antiretroviral medications. There were several other promising interventions to increase antiretroviral use (using several health interventions at the same time and using computerized reminders), to reduce hospital admissions (using multiple health disciplines and increasing hours of operation), and reducing length of hospital stay (telephone notices and advice for providers). Unfortunately, the design of these studies, the small number of studies on each intervention and the lack of standard terms and definitions limits their usefulness to health providers and policy‐makers. This is especially true for developing countries as no studies were found from those settings.

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Summaries for consumers

Patient support and education for promoting adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS

People living with HIV/AIDS are required to achieve high levels of adherence to benefit from many antiretroviral regimens. This review identified 19 studies involving a total of 2,159 participants that evaluated an intervention intended to improve adherence. Ten of these studies demonstrated a beneficial effect of the intervention. We found that interventions targeting practical medication management skills, those administered to individuals vs groups, and those interventions delivered over 12 weeks or more were associated with improved adherence to antiretroviral therapy. We also found that interventions targeting marginalized populations such as women, Latinos, or patients with a past history of alcoholism were not successful at improving adherence. We did not find studies that evaluated the quality of the patient‐provider relationship or the clinical setting. Most studies had several methodological shortcomings.

Setting and organization of care for persons living with HIV/AIDS

Policy makers and health workers need evidence about how and where to provide care for people living with HIV/AIDS. This review identified 28 studies involving 39,776 study subjects that examined these questions. Centres with a lot of HIV/AIDS patients often had lower death rates. The number of patients needed to get these results was very different in each study so it is not clear what the right number is. Settings with case management had fewer deaths and had higher use of antiretroviral medications. There were several other promising interventions to increase antiretroviral use (using several health interventions at the same time and using computerized reminders), to reduce hospital admissions (using multiple health disciplines and increasing hours of operation), and reducing length of hospital stay (telephone notices and advice for providers). Unfortunately, the design of these studies, the small number of studies on each intervention and the lack of standard terms and definitions limits their usefulness to health providers and policy‐makers. This is especially true for developing countries as no studies were found from those settings.

Use of antimotility drugs (Loperamide, Diphenoxylate, Codeine) to control prolonged diarrhoea in people with HIV/AIDS.

People with HIV/AIDS often develop prolonged diarrhoea which are sometimes not caused by infections. This is more so in the sub‐Saharan Africa where drugs for controlling HIV itself i.e. antiretroviral drugs (ARV) may not be widely available or affordable. prolonged diarrhoea often results in prolonged illness and death due to loss of fluids, if not treated effectively and on time. Antimotility drugs and adsorbents are readily available and are used to try to control this condition while efforts are made to receive ARVs. We did not find enough evidence to support or refute their use in controlling this condition.

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More about HIV/AIDS

Photo of a young adult man

Also called: Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, Acquired immune deficiency syndrome

Other terms to know:
Cancer (Malignant Neoplasm), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Microbes (Microorganisms)

Related articles:
HIV/AIDS and the Immune System

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