HIV Treatment Overview


HIV is a well-recognized and studied condition, which is considerably widespread currently across the world. Even though the disease could not be cured completely (at least with contemporary medical instruments), there is a variety of treatment options that allow HIV-infected people to lead a relatively normal life for a prolonged period. The purpose of this systematic literature review is to critically assess two scholarly articles on the topic of HIV treatment to summarize and evaluate the chosen materials and to provide a comprehensive conclusion.

Literature Review of the Chosen Articles

The first article under discussion is presented by the members of the USA Panel of the International Antiviral Society. Günthard et al. (2016) claim that antiretroviral therapy continues to be the most efficient approach to treatment and prevention of HIV to date. Accordingly, as antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) are subject to continuous improvement, the authors’ objective is to provide updated recommendations on the use of ARVs for adult patients. Günthard et al. (2016), being experts in the study of HIV, conducted vast literature research on the topic in peer-reviewed journals from the PubMed and EMBASE databases to find new data or evidence on the use of ARVs. The authors found that the optimal treatment regime for the majority of infected patients is “2 nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) plus an integrase strand transfer inhibitor (InSTI)” (Günthard et al., 2016, p. 191). For preexposure prophylaxis, daily tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine is recommended (Günthard et al., 2016).

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The second article is focused on the aspect of prognosis and life expectancy among patients infected with HIV. Trickey et al. (2017) argue that healthcare for the HIV-infected population has improved significantly. Therefore, the authors attempt to observe the dynamic of changes “in 3 year survival and life expectancy of patients starting combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) between 1996 and 2013” (Trickey et al., 2017, p. e349). For the analysis, data from 18 European and North American HIV-1 cohorts, which translates into 88504 patients, were analyzed by the authors (Trickey et al., 2017).

By comparing mortality rates for different periods, the authors came to the following conclusion: the HIV-infected patients’ quality of life is subject to continuous improvement, primarily due to “less toxic antiretroviral drugs, improved adherence, prophylactic measures, and management of comorbidity” (Trickey et al., 2017, p. e349). Nevertheless, the authors indicate the need to address such problems as proper access to care and late HIV diagnosis (Trickey et al., 2017).

Critical Assessment of the Sources

It is possible to state that both sources represent examples of solid academic research. Each of the articles is written by a group of experts in the identified research field, and the findings of both studies are substantial and reliable, as they are based on the analysis of the information from peer-reviewed sources and verified databases. The article by Günthard et al. (2016) is an example of an excellent academic work that has little to no critical imperfections, as the authors include all the relevant information on the topic. The study by Trickey et al. (2017) is also considered solid, and the only limitation that could be mentioned in the article’s results might be affected by confounding as the patient characteristics change.

Conclusion

From the conducted literature review, it is apparent that significant progress is made in the field of treating HIV. Antiretroviral therapy continues to be the most efficient approach to HIV treatment. Its efficiency is exemplified by the prolonged life expectancy of HIV-diagnosed people who started their treatment timely. In conclusion, it is possible to mention that the problem of missing the proper diagnosis, as well as wider access to care, should be further researched.

References

Günthard, H. F., Saag, M. S., Benson, C. A., Del Rio, C., Eron, J. J., Gallant, J. E.,… Gandhi, R. T. (2016). Antiretroviral drugs for treatment and prevention of HIV infection in adults: 2016 recommendations of the International Antiviral Society–USA panel. JAMA, 316(2), 191-210.

Trickey, A., May, M. T., Vehreschild, J. J., Obel, N., Gill, M. J., Crane, H. M.,… Cavassini, M. (2017). Survival of HIV-positive patients starting antiretroviral therapy between 1996 and 2013: A collaborative analysis of cohort studies. The Lancet HIV, 4(8), e349-e356.

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