Positive Support Services in North Yorkshire and York
NYAA provides support for people in North Yorkshire and York who are living with or affected by HIV. From 1st July 2015, our support services will be delivered as part of our Partnership with York Teaching Hospital NHS under the recognised name YorSexualHealth.
On this website, you can find more information about who we are in the “About NYAA” section and what we do – what services we can provide – in the “Services” section. There is also an overview of information about HIV and HIV treatment in the “Information About HIV” section, with suggestions on where to find reliable, more detailed information. And there is also a “News” section, for news not only about NYAA, but also about things to do with HIV that might be of interest.
You can find our contact details here.
Topics on this page include the following: you can jump to them by clicking on the headings below:
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is the second most common form of cardiovascular disease (CVD) after coronary artery disease. Arteries in the lower limbs or supplying major organs become narrowed as a result of deposits of cholesterol. Blood supply to the limbs is reduced, leading to cramping or pain in the leg and hip muscles during activity, especially walking. As peripheral artery disease progresses, pain may become more persistent. In its most advanced form, PAD can lead to tissue damage and gangrene in the limbs, possibly requiring amputation. Numbness in the limbs, sores on the legs or feet, pale or blue skin on the legs or hair loss on the legs and feet are possible symptoms of PAD. The condition is more common in men and may progress for a long time without symptoms. PAD can be diagnosed by comparing the blood pressure at the ankle and the arm; lower blood pressure at the ankle, caused by a restricted blood supply, indicates PAD.
People who develop PAD are at high risk for a stroke or heart attack. PAD is already present in around one in twenty people in the 45-50 age group and the risk increases with age and in people with other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, especially smoking or diabetes. Stopping smoking and taking regular exercise can improve the condition, as can reduction of cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure through lifestyle and dietary changes and medication.
A large study presented at last month’s IAS Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) showed that people living with HIV with CD4 counts below 500 were at higher risk of developing PAD than people without HIV of the same age and ethnic group, after taking into account smoking, lipid levels and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The risk was approximately 24% higher for people with CD4 counts between 500 and 200 and 73% higher for people with CD4 counts below 200. The findings underline the importance of starting HIV treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis, especially in older people, as well as the protective effect of a high CD4 cell count.
The full article can be read here.
HIV or AIDS
We have to be clear about the difference between HIV and AIDS, and certainly not use them interchangeably or incorrectly. HIV i-Base describes them as follows:“HIV is a virus that causes damage to the immune system. This usually occurs slowly and over many years. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
AIDS is the medical condition caused by HIV. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. This cover a range of illness that your body becomes vulnerable to after HIV has damaged your immune system.
Without treatment, 95% of people who are infected with HIV will progress to AIDS. This can take from 1 to 15 years, and on average takes 5-10 years.“
Antriretroviral Therapy (ART) has changed the outlook for HIV positive people
- Treatment is now effective and easier to take than ever before.
- Life expectancy is similar to being HIV negative – especially if you are diagnosed early and begin treatment. Being HIV positive might actually help you live longer because you will access medical care throughout your life.
- The risk of transmitting HIV when on treatment is effectively zero. This means that our sexual partners, if they are HIV negative, are protected too. This should also help reduce the fear about HIV. It should help reduce stigma.
In the UK, we now don’t see AIDS very often, thanks to very succesful ART, using very effective antiretrovirals (ARVs) and so we rarely need to refer to AIDS. Some journals and organisations have changes their name to reflect this…but we still have NAT, and our own organisation is still NYAA (North Yorkshire AIDS Action). They have become almost “brand names”, and so people are reluctant to change them, even though in practice, here in the UK, we very rarely now see AIDS. Of course, things are different in other countries…
So it is important to think about when to use HIV and when to use AIDS, and to ensure that they are used correctly and not interchanged or confused.