Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the combination of several antiretroviral medicines used to slow the rate at which HIV makes copies of itself (multiplies) in the body. A combination of three or more antiretroviral medicines is more effective than using just one medicine (monotherapy) to treat HIV.
The use of three or more antiretroviral medicines-sometimes referred to as an anti-HIV "cocktail"-is currently the standard treatment for HIV infection. So far, this treatment offers the best chance of preventing HIV from multiplying, which allows your immune system to stay healthy. The goal of antiretroviral therapy is to reduce the amount of virus in your body (viral load) to a level that can no longer be detected with current blood tests.
Other drug combinations are approved and may be used in some cases.
Also, studies have shown that if you are not infected with HIV, taking antiretroviral medicines can protect you against HIV.2, 3 But to keep your risk low, you still need to use safer sex practices.
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