AIDS Home > Viracept Uses
Viracept is used for treating HIV and AIDS in adults and children as young as two years old. The medication can help stop HIV from infecting uninfected cells in the body, but it is not a cure. Healthcare providers may occasionally recommend off-label Viracept uses, such as for preventing HIV infection in people exposed to the virus (i.e., healthcare workers exposed to contaminated needle sticks).
Viracept® (nelfinavir mesylate) is a prescription medication approved to treat HIV and AIDS (when used in combination with other medications). It is part of a group of medications known as protease inhibitors.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was initially reported in the United States in 1981. Since then, it has become a significant worldwide epidemic. AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). At first, an HIV infection usually does not cause any obvious symptoms (see HIV Symptoms), and most people have no idea that they have been infected with HIV (unless they happen to be tested for HIV). However, by killing or damaging cells of the body's immune system, HIV will eventually begin to progressively destroy the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers (see AIDS Symptoms).
HIV is commonly spread through sexual contact with infected partners. HIV transmission also happens through contact with infected blood, which frequently occurs among IV drug users (who share needles or syringes contaminated with blood from someone infected with the virus) or can occur by an accidental needle stick. Women with HIV can transmit the virus to their babies during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.
Viracept is almost always used as part of an HIV "cocktail." These cocktails usually consist of three or four (or sometimes five) different HIV medications (technically known as highly active antiretroviral therapy or HAART). Using combinations of medications helps to prevent the virus from becoming resistant to one or more of the drugs.