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What Is The Treatment For HIV?

What is the treatment for HIV

Treating HIV involves the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART). What is ART? How effective is this treatment for people suffering from HIV infection?

ART refers to a type of treatment involving a combination of two or more HIV medications from different drug classes. The development of ART in the mid-1990s made HIV treatment more straightforward. This medical breakthrough lowered the cases of HIV-related deaths, and until today, controlling the virus has become easier.

How does ART work?

This form of therapy uses antiretroviral drugs that work by preventing HIV from making more copies of itself. Despite the absence of an HIV cure, antiretroviral drugs are indeed effective in inhibiting the virus from advancing to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency virus). The following are the classes of antiretroviral drugs which people with HIV should take regularly.

Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) – This class of HIV medications works by interfering with HIV’s ability to replicate. It blocks a particular enzyme that HIV needs to multiply or reproduce throughout the body. NRTIs’ list of drugs includes the following:

  • Epivir (Lamivudine)
  • Retrovir (Zidovudine)
  • Viread (Tenofovir DF)
  • Ziagen (Abacavir)
  • Emtriva (Emtricitabine)
  • Zerit (Stavudine)

Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) – Drugs under this class work by stopping reverse transcriptase (an enzyme HIV uses to replicate their genomes). NNRTIs also interfere with the virus’ capacity to multiply. The list of NNRTIs is as follows:

  • Sustiva (Efavirenz)
  • Viramune (Nevirapine)
  • Intelence (Etravirine)
  • Pifeltro (Doravirine)
  • Viramune XR (Nevirapine)
  • Rescriptor (Delavirdine)
  • Edurant (Rilpivirine)

Entry/attachment inhibitors – These inhibitors work primarily in blocking the virus from entering the immune cells. The list of entry inhibitors is as follows:

  • Fuzeon (Enfuvirtide)
  • Rukubio (Fostemsavir)
  • Selzentry (Maraviroc)
  • Trogarzo (Ibalizumab)

Protease inhibitors (PIs) – PIs or protease inhibitors function by blocking an enzyme known as HIV protease. This type of enzyme is what HIV also uses to build copies of itself. The list of PIs is as follows:

  • Aptivus (Tipranavir)
  • Lexiva (Fosamprenavir)
  • Prezista (Darunavir)
  • Reyataz (Atazanavir)

Integrase inhibitors (INSTIs) – INSTIs work by blocking the actions of integrase. It is a type of enzyme that causes the human immunodeficiency virus to replicate. INSTIs prevent DNA coding integration into the host cell’s nucleus. The list of drugs includes:

  • Isentress (Raltegravir)
  • Tivicay (Dolutegravir)
  • Vocabria (Cabotegravir)
  • Vitekta (Elvitegravir)

As mentioned, ART includes the use of fixed-dose combinations of different HIV drugs. ART helps lower the risk of HIV complications and reduces viral load in the body. These are as follows:

  • Atripla (Efavirenz + Emtricitabine + Tenofovir DF)
  • Biktarvy (Bictegravir + Emtricitabine + Tenofovir AF)
  • Cimduo (Emtricitabine + Tenofovir DF)
  • Descovy (Emtricitabine + Tenofovir AF)
  • Dovato (Dolutegravir + Lamivudine)
  • Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine)
  • Evotaz (Atazanavir + Cobicistat)
  • Genvoya (Elvitegravir + Cobicistat + Emtricitabine + Tenofovir AF)
  • Kaletra (Lopinavir + Ritonavir)
  • Odefsey (Emtricitabine + Rilpivirine + Tenofovir AF)
  • Prezcobix (Darunavir + Cobicistat)
  • Stribild (Elvitegravir + Cobicistat + Emtricitabine + Tenofovir DF)
  • Symfi (Efavirenz + Lamivudine + Tenofovir DF)
  • Triumeq (Abacavir + Dolutegravir + Lamivudine)
  • Truvada (Emtricitabine + Tenofovir DF)

The cure for HIV/AIDS may still be far away; however, studies and research are underway to produce the elusive solution to the infection. Fortunately, antiviral drugs are available today and are easily accessible to provide people with HIV the care and treatment they need.

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