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HIV & AIDS

By March 29, 2022August 8th, 2022No Comments
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HIV & AIDS Help with Active Hospice

Despite the advancements that have been made in treating HIV & AIDS over the past 30 years, there is still no cure. Eventually, a person with HIV will progress to AIDS and start to decline. Learn how hospice for HIV & AIDS provides quality, comfort, and control over end of life situations.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, is a chronic infectious disease that was first discovered in 1981. The infection is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). As HIV spreads throughout the body, it attacks certain cells of the immune system. In the end, HIV decreases the body’s immune response and makes a person more susceptible to secondary infections.

stages of HIV infectionAIDS is the last stage of a chronic HIV infection. People can live for years with the virus before they start to show symptoms. People with AIDS see an increase in HIV related complications. These include:

  • Memory Loss
  • Confusion
  • Dementia
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Chronic Diarrhea
  • Pneumonia
  • Mouth Sores
  • Anorexia

Current treatment has lengthened the amount of time a patient has HIV before being diagnosed with AIDS. In fact, the CDC named the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS as one of the top 10 public health achievements in the first decade of the 21st century.

Living with HIV & AIDS

We have seen a huge shift in our thought process about HIV & AIDS. Our mindset has shifted from dying from to living with HIV & AIDS. As of 2018, over 50% of people living with HIV are at least 50 years or older, a statistic most would have though impossible when the AIDS epidemic began.

What does living with HIV look like? HIV patients have a higher prevalence of comorbid diseases than their non-HIV counterparts. They experience higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, renal failure, fractures, and cardiovascular disease. In general, they see these comorbidities 10 years earlier than the general population. 

Patients living with HIV tend to have higher physical and psychological symptom burden than the general population. Chronic pain is reported in up to 85% of patients with HIV. People also report higher levels of anxiety, depression, nervousness, loneliness, and irritability. On average, a patient with HIV reports having 8 physical or psychological symptoms related to AIDS.

Despite all the advances in HIV treatments, patients will still eventually enter the AIDS stage and start to decline. On average, a patient with HIV will die 8 years earlier than someone without.

When does a Person with HIV & AIDS Qualify for Hospice?

When a person is diagnosed with AIDS, they start to see an increase in secondary infections.  Many of these infections are rare in someone without AIDS and are more severe, frequent, and extensive. The presence of these rarer infections, like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, toxoplasmosis, and cryptosporidium infections, can help confirm that hospice is necessary. 

Other factors that can help determine hospice eligibility include:

  • Chronic, persistent diarrhea for 1 year
  • Substance abuse
  • Age greater than 50 years old
  • Absence of ART therapy
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Advanced liver disease

Managing HIV & AIDS with Active Hospice

Hospice is never an easy decision to make, especially with HIV & AIDS. HIV doesn’t progress to AIDS the same from patient to patient, so the hospice decision is different for everyone. Active Hospice understands. We design our end of life care plans to meet your needs. Our team will help you keep the quality of life you want and offer you the control over the end of life that you need. 

Some of the benefits Active Hospice provides include:

  • Better pain management
  • Improved physical and psychological symptom management
  • Advanced end of life planning
  • Improved spiritual well-being
  • Bereavement for family members
  • Respite care

Why Choose Active Hospice?

Despite the advancements that have been made in treating HIV & AIDS over the past 30 years, there is still no cure. Eventually, a person with HIV will progress to AIDS and start to decline. Active Hospice provides quality, comfort and control over the end of life process. Our hospice services help patients avoid a prolonged dying experience, all the while being surrounded by those you love. We help you and your family prepare for life’s final journey with a sense of closure. Call us today to set up your free, in-home consultation!

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