AIDS Home > What You Need to Know About Treating HIV With HAART

Protease Inhibitors
The FDA also has approved a second class of medications for HIV treatment. These medications, called protease inhibitors, interrupt the virus from making copies of itself at a later step in its lifecycle. They include:
Entry Inhibitors
These are a fairly new group of HIV drugs. They work totally different than other medications for HIV. Instead of working from the inside of cells, entry inhibitors actually work to stop HIV from entering human cells. This group of medications includes those drugs that prevent the virus from connecting to human cells (known as fusion inhibitors), although sometimes fusion inhibitors are considered a separate class.
Entry inhibitor medications include:
Integrase Inhibitors
This group is the newest of all HIV medications. Currently, there are two medications in this class: raltegravir (Isentress®) and elvitegravir (part of the combination drug Stribild®). Raltegravir inhibits an enzyme called integrase, which is necessary for the viral DNA to be inserted into the human DNA. By inhibiting integrase, raltegravir helps to prevent the virus from making new copies of itself. It is important to remember that raltegravir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.
Combination Medications From Different Classes
There are many different combination HIV drugs available. These drugs are usually best used as part of an HIV "cocktail." These cocktails usually consist of three or four (or sometimes five) different medications (technically known as highly active anti-retroviral therapy, or HAART). Using a combination of medications for HIV helps to prevent the virus from becoming resistant to one or more of the drugs.
In order to help reduce the number of pills that must be taken, many of these medications are combined in one capsule or tablet. Sometimes, these medications combine drugs from different classes, such as:
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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