New HIV Guidelines Encourage Regular Health Check-Ups

HIV positive people living longer and recommended for monitoring for typical conditions associated with age or behavior

(RxWiki News) New advancements in HIV treatment have allowed many people to live with a very small amount of the virus in their bodies. But what are the pros and cons?

A recent update to the Primary Care Guidelines for the Management of Persons Infected With HIV recommended that HIV patients should have regular and consistent primary health care.

The authors explained that people with HIV are living longer and are therefore becoming at risk for conditions associated with old age and poor health habits.

"Talk to your doctor about complete health management."

The lead author of this update was Judith A. Aberg, MD, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at the New York University School of Medicine.

Dr. Aberg and colleagues suggested that doctors should monitor HIV-positive patients for common health conditions that are now affecting HIV-positive people because they are living longer.

“In many HIV practices now, 80 percent of patients with HIV infection have the virus under control and live long, full lives. This means that HIV specialists need to provide the full spectrum of primary care to these patients, and primary care physicians need a better grasp of the impact HIV care has on routine healthcare,” said Dr. Aberg.

HIV patients are at increased risk for common health issues because of the infection itself, their medications and/or common risk factors like smoking or not eating healthily.

These guidelines suggested that doctors of HIV patients emphasize and encourage regular and consistent screening for conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis (disease that leads to weak and brittle bones), colon cancer and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

In addition, vaccinations for pneumococcal infections (ear infections, nose infections, meningitis, pneumonia), influenza, varicella and hepatitis A and B were recommended for HIV patients.

Lastly, the guidelines suggested that patients who have their HIV controlled (as confirmed by their doctor) may only need to have blood tests to monitor the viral load every six to 12 months rather than the previously suggested three to four months.

This update was published online on November 13 in Clinical Infectious Diseases, and will be featured in the January print edition of the journal.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America provided funding.

Review Date: 
November 27, 2013