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HIV Care Specialist

Jivana Care -  - Family Medicine

Jivana Care

Family Medicine located in Bethesda, MD

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is no longer the life-threatening condition it once was, thanks to advancements in testing and treatment. At Jivana Care in Bethesda, Maryland, family medicine specialists Melinda Jorge, MD, Gezzer Ortega, MD, and the team provide all-inclusive HIV care. From HIV testing to treatment and management, the team can help you prevent complications from HIV. To learn more, call Jivana Care or schedule an appointment online now.

HIV Care Q&A

What is HIV care?

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is a potentially dangerous virus that attacks your body’s immune system. It interferes with your body’s natural ability to fight infection-causing pathogens and diseases.

The most notable complication of this sexually transmitted disease (STD) is its connection to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a severe form of HIV that has an average survival rate of three years without treatment.

HIV care at Jivana Care can help minimize your complications from the virus, so it doesn’t evolve into AIDS. Proper care and management of HIV improves your health and quality of life.

How do I know if I need HIV care?

How HIV presents depends on the progression of the disease. In its earliest stages, HIV often causes flu-like symptoms, such as:

  • Sore throat
  • Mouth sores
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Night sweats

As HIV progresses and lowers your natural immunity, you’re increasingly susceptible to infections and illnesses, like pneumonia, shingles, and yeast infections. If the disease progresses to AIDS, it can lead to chronic diarrhea, lesions on the face and body, and extreme fatigue.

What causes HIV?

HIV is a sexually transmitted disease that spreads through sexual contact or blood. Common ways that HIV spreads are through:

  • Vaginal sex
  • Anal sex
  • Blood transfusions
  • Pregnancy or delivery
  • Breastfeeding
  • Sharing needles during drug use

HIV cannot spread through skin-to-skin contact, kissing, air, water, or insect bites. 

Unprotected sex and IV drug use are the most common ways that HIV spreads. If you have HIV, it’s important to use protection every time you have sex and notify any potential sexual partners of your status.

What happens during HIV care?

There is currently no cure for HIV, but it is a manageable condition with the right care. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the most common treatment for HIV. ART can help lower the amount of HIV present in your blood. This regimen typically includes three or more medications to control your HIV symptoms and prevent the spread of the virus. 

Following the ART protocol can help:

  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Reduce your HIV transmission rate
  • Minimize your chances of infection
  • Decreases your chances of developing treatment-resistant HIV

The team at Jivana Care may also recommend diet and lifestyle modifications to improve your quality of life with HIV.

To learn more about treatment for HIV, call Jivana Care or schedule an appointment online now.