Amber Pharmacy’s Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Center of Excellence is a dedicated team that provides exceptional care and clinical expertise for all patients and caregivers dealing with HIV/AIDS and HIV-related concerns.
Our HIV Center of Excellence is led by HIV-trained pharmacists and includes clinical pharmacists, nurses, pharmacy technicians and supportive staff. This team has extensive experience with patients with HIV/AIDS and provides support for the clinical, physical, financial, educational and emotional needs of patients and their caregivers.
Amber Pharmacy is Here to Help
To make managing HIV easier for you, Amber Pharmacy’s enrollment and benefit coordinators will help you with your insurance coverage and will work with you to find the best way to pay for your medication. Personal care coordinators will remind you when it’s time to refill your medication so you receive the most effective treatment possible. Our team also has experts in HIV care and will help you with your treatment—including how to take your medication and manage side effects. At Amber Pharmacy, we’re always here to help.
“The management of HIV/AIDS is often complex and can seem intimidating. I enjoy the challenge of shaping the regimen that is best for the patient.”
— Paige Blatchford, Pharm.D.
Amber Pharmacy Clinical Pharmacist
Frequently Asked Questions about HIV/AIDS
HIV is a virus that impacts the body’s immune system. It targets CD4 cells, which are white blood cells that help your body fight off infections. You will often hear your doctor discuss both CD4 counts and viral loads. Viral load is the amount of HIV virus in your body—the lower the viral load the better.
Not everyone who has HIV has AIDS. AIDS is an advanced form of HIV that can often be avoided with successful treatment. AIDS is when the body can no longer fight off infections successfully.
HIV can be spread through childbirth and bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal fluids, blood, breast milk and rectal fluids. Risky behaviors, like unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners and drug use, increase the risk of spreading the disease. HIV is not spread through saliva, urine, sweat or mosquito bites.
Not having sex or only having sex with one partner who doesn’t have HIV is the surest way to avoid HIV infection. Other ways to avoid HIV transmission include:
- Getting tested
- Practicing safe sex
- Never share needles with someone
- If you’re pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant, get tested
HIV can only be prevented by avoiding risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex or sharing needles. If you have HIV, one of the most important ways to prevent infecting others is to take your medications. If you take your medication as directed, the virus can reach an undetectable level. When the virus is undetectable, the chance of transmission is very low.
If you’re at risk of transmission or are in a relationship with someone who has HIV, you may need to take pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a pill that is taken once a day to help prevent transmission. Though PrEP helps prevent HIV, protected sex is still recommended to prevent the transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases.
If you become infected with HIV, you may not notice any symptoms. If you believe you have been exposed to HIV, it’s important to get tested immediately and follow up with your doctor. It may take a few weeks after being infected for the test to show positive results.
Possible symptoms that you may experience after being infected include:
- Night sweats
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Mouth sores
If you think you have HIV, get tested. You can easily give HIV to someone else in the early stages of infection, even if you have no symptoms. It’s important to always take steps to reduce your risk of transmission.
HIV is treated with a combination of medications. These medications help control the virus so you can live a longer, healthier life and reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others. Talk with your doctor to see which HIV medications are best for you.
HIV is managed with a mixture of medications often referred to as anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Treatment is very specific to each person and the type of virus they have. All of your medications need to be taken as directed to correctly manage HIV. Often times, HIV medications interact with other medications. Make sure your doctors and pharmacists know all of the medications you are taking.
There is no cure for HIV. HIV is a lifelong condition that can be successfully managed with medication. If you take your medication as directed, your CD4 count will rise, helping your body fight infections and your viral load will decrease. The ultimate goal is to decrease the amount of virus in the body and increase the CD4 cells that help fight off infections.
Medication makes each patient feel differently and you may not experience any side effects at all. If you do, Amber Pharmacy will work with you to help manage side effects. Missing a dose of medication can affect your treatment, which means you need to take your medication like your doctor tells you. If you are missing medication because of side effects, talk to your pharmacist or doctor.
Refer a patient
We understand that HIV/AIDS treatment involves much more than simply dispensing medication. In all that we do we provide respectful, reliable, patient-centered care.