AIDS Home > Treatment for HIV

HIV is typically treated with medications. These medications can slow the spread of the virus in the body and delay the start of opportunistic infections. Combinations of different drugs can also be helpful. While taking multiple drugs can increase the effectiveness of treatment for HIV, many people experience some side effects with the drugs.

An Overview of HIV Treatment

When AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) first surfaced in the United States, there were no medicines to combat the underlying immune deficiency, and few treatments existed for the opportunistic diseases that resulted. Researchers, however, have now developed treatment for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection and its associated infections and cancers.
 

Medications Used as Treatment for HIV

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a number of medications to treat HIV infections.
 
Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs, NNRTIs, and NtRTIs)
The first group of HIV medications, called nucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors, interrupts an early stage of the virus making copies of itself. These medications may slow the spread of HIV in the body and delay the start of opportunistic infections. This class of medications, called nucleoside analogs, includes:
 
 
Healthcare providers can also prescribe non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), such as:
 
 
Nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NtRTIs) are other similar drugs. At this time, there is only one NtRTI drug on the market: tenofovir (Viread®). It works exactly the same as NRTIs. In fact, the names for the two classes of AIDS drugs are so similar that these medications are often confused for each other. The only real difference is in the chemical structures of these HIV medications.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
Other Articles in This eMedTV Presentation
Advertisement


Topics & Medications

Quicklinks

Related Channels

eMedTV Links
Copyright © 2006-2017 Clinaero, Inc.

eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.