In Finland, the treatment and monitoring of HIV patients is conducted within special health care. The place for treatment is determined based on the place of residency. When the HIV infection is discovered and diagnosed, the patient is given a referral to special health care. Special health care involves the necessary lab tests, meeting with an infection disease (ID) specialist and possibly starting medical treatment. The treatment is monitored through regular lab tests as well as appointments with nurses and doctors.
The medical treatment of HIV is based on antiretroviral medication, which usually contains three different kinds of virus medications. Nowadays, an HIV infection is, in practice, a chronic disease that requires treatment and monitoring. The medications slows down the reproduction of the virus and prevents healthy cells from getting infected. The body’s lowered immune system is normalised and the progress of the disease is stopped. Research has shown that when a person takes their HIV medication every day and the medication works, HIV does not spread in unprotected sex.
Thanks to the current forms of treatments, even the virus amounts of people who have progressed to the AIDS stage can be considerably lowered and the related diseases can be treated effectively. With the help of treatments, the patient’s lifespan is prolonged and the quality of life is improved. However, with the medication currently in use, the virus cannot be completely abolished from the body.