Living With HIV and AIDS
Patients with AIDS already have a weakened immune system and some treatments for lymphoma could cause further
damage. AIDS patients with AIDS-related lymphoma will receive lower doses of drugs than those
patients who do not have AIDS. Patients with AIDS-related lymphoma will show a much
faster progression of the disease and is more likely to spread to other parts of the body. It can be much
harder to treat and some medicines used for treatment can cause further damage to the immune system.
There are three main types of treatment for AIDS-related lymphoma. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and
high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant are the main three. There are other treatments that are in
clinical trials and if you have AIDS-related lymphoma, you may want to consider trying to get into one of those
Chemotherapy is drugs designed to stop the growth of cancer cells either by killing them, or preventing them
from dividing and multiplying. Chemotherapy can be injected in the veins or can be taken by mouth. The
drugs then enter the bloodstream so they can reach any cancer cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy drugs
can be placed directly into the spine or another organ of the body to treat cancer cells in that area. This
is called intrahecal chemotherapy. A combination of drugs can be used in chemotherapy using more than one
anticancer drug. Your doctor will decide if this treatment is what you need according to what stage your
cancer is in.
Did You Know?
The AIDS epidemic is a horrible disease but it has given us a silver lining.
Scientists and researchers have a new awareness of how important the immune system is to our body.
The public knows about the immune system and cares about the health of lymph nodes, vessels, and
the rest of the system. Because there is a new awareness of the importance of the immune system,
more research has been done on how to build it up so it can fight the advances of AIDS.
People are aware of the danger of infectious diseases and are taking steps to stay
healthier. They are eating healthier diets, exercising, and taking better care of their bodies. The
medical community has focused on researching vaccines and cures but has failed to explore the
possibilities of bolstering the immune system. The best defense we have against infection is our
body. The tragedy of that fact is that most drugs have serious side effects and only prolong life
for a few more months.
Strengthening the body’s immune system is our best defense against opportunistic
infections. One way to do that is to use homeopathy medicine. There is not one treatment or drug
that will help every HIV infected person, but homeopathy is helping people with various stages of
the disease. This is a different way of looking at the disease. Instead of fighting the pathogens
that cause the disease through conventional drug treatment, doctors are looking at alternative and
complimentary ways of treating patients with HIV or AIDS.
Doctors in the Netherlands are supporting the use of homeopathic medicine in
treating AIDS patients. Natural therapies, and alternative methods of treatment cannot only prolong
the life of the AIDS patient, it can improve the overall quality of life they have. They do not
provide a cure.
Radiation therapy is another form of therapy. High-energy x-rays or other forms of radiation are directed
to a particular spot in the body where the cancer cells are found. There is external radiation that uses a
machine that beams the rays into the body, and there is internal radiation therapy. This therapy places a
radioactive substance directly into the body near the cancer or directly into the organ it is affecting. The
radiation you will be given will be chosen and determined by which stage of the cancer your body is in.
High dose chemotherapy with a stem cell transplant is one of the most extreme treatments used for AIDS-related
lymphoma. This method of treatment gives high doses of chemotherapy drugs and then replacing blood-forming
cells that were destroyed by the treatment. Stem cells can be taken from the patient or received from a
donor. These stem cells are frozen and stored until the patient needs them. When the chemotherapy is
completed, the stem cells are unfrozen and given back to the patient through an infusion. These stem cells
then grow into mature blood cells.
Since the disease was first discovered in 1981, there have been over 60 million people all
around the world that have been infected with the HIV virus.
It has also taken the lives of more than 20 million people, many who live in underdeveloped
countries, especially in parts of Africa.
There are many other treatments that are in clinical trials. One of those is the monoclonal
antibody therapy. This treatment uses laboratory-developed antibodies from one single immune system
cell. These are given by infusion and they attach to the cancer cell. They can kill the cancer cells,
stop them from growing, or keep them from spreading to other areas of the body.