Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a lifelong illness, but you can manage it successfully with expert medical assistance. Iryne Zziwa-Kabenge, MSN, CRNP, AAHIVS, at Zziwa Adult Clinical Practice in Owings Mills, Maryland, is an experienced HIV specialist who provides in-home care. She cares passionately about improving the quality of life for people affected by HIV, including older adults. Call Zziwa Adult Clinical Practice to arrange an HIV evaluation, or use the online scheduling feature to request a consultation.
HIV is a lifelong infection contracted through sex with someone who’s infected or exposed to contaminated blood. It has no cure, but modern treatments can effectively control the disease.
Some people develop flu-like symptoms within 2-4 weeks after exposure. Primary (acute) HIV infection can last for a few weeks, but you might not realize the cause as the symptoms are similar to other common illnesses.
After this stage, you develop chronic HIV, where the virus is in your body but causes few or no symptoms.
Symptomatic HIV develops as the virus multiplies and destroys immune system cells. You become more vulnerable to problems like yeast infections, shingles, and pneumonia. You may also suffer from chronic fatigue, lose weight, and have swollen lymph nodes.
Without treatment, your immune system becomes so severely damaged that you develop acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Your body can’t fight off diseases and could develop cancer, kidney and liver disease, wasting syndrome, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), and other conditions.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) medications are the primary HIV treatment. They suppress the virus, combat treatment resistance, and stop drug-resistant HIV strains from developing.
Taking ART correctly should result in an undetectable viral load, which means you’ll generally be healthy. However, you must take your medications as prescribed and not miss any doses.
Older adults with HIV have often lived with the condition for decades. As their health deteriorates with age, they become more prone to infections and increased strain on the immune system.
Failing health could also affect someone’s ability to take their medications on time, reducing viral load control.
In addition, some medications that older people require for conditions like heart disease don’t interact well with ART, presenting prescribing challenges.
Many older adults who’ve had HIV for a long time struggle to find health care providers. Iryne understands the HIV disease process, medication interactions, and other problems older people face. She works with your other health care providers to deliver first-class in-home care and medical house call services.
Iryne is passionate about making HIV care accessible and supportive for patients (and their families/caregivers), especially as they age. Her extensive knowledge and experience, coupled with her warmth, kindness, and respect for her patients, ensures your care is second to none.
Call Zziwa Adult Clinical Practice today or book an appointment online for exceptional in-home HIV care.