HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Infection - Medications
Medicines used to treat HIV are called antiretrovirals. Several of
these are combined for treatment called
antiretroviral therapy, or ART.
When choosing medicines, your doctor will
- How well the medicines reduce
- How likely it is that the virus
resistant to a certain type of medicine.
- The cost of medicines.
- Medicine side effects and your willingness to live with
Medicines for HIV may have unpleasant side effects. They may sometimes make you feel worse than you
did before you started taking them. Talk to your doctor about your side
effects. He or she may be able to adjust your medicines or prescribe a
You may be able to take several medicines combined
into one pill. This reduces the number of pills you have to take each
- HIV: When Should I Start Taking Antiretroviral Medicines for HIV Infection?
- HIV: Taking Antiretroviral Drugs
- Nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors, such as abacavir, emtricitabine, and tenofovir.
- Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), such as efavirenz, etravirine, and nevirapine.
- Protease inhibitors (PIs), such as atazanavir,
darunavir, and ritonavir.
- Entry inhibitors, such as enfuvirtide and maraviroc.
- Integrase inhibitors, such as raltegravir.
Resistance to HIV medicines can occur when:
- There is a change in the way your body
absorbs the medicine.
- There are interactions between two or more
medicines you are taking.
- The virus changes and no longer responds
to the medicines you are taking.
- You have been infected with a
drug-resistant strain of the virus.
- You have not taken your
medicines as prescribed by your doctor.
antiretroviral therapy (ART) reduces your risk of developing
resistance to HIV medicines.
If your viral load doesn't
drop as expected, or if your CD4+ cell count starts to fall, your doctor will
try to find out why the treatment didn't work.
two main reasons that treatment fails:
- The virus that causes HIV has become
resistant. The medicine no longer works to control virus multiplication or
protect your immune system. Tests can show if resistance has
occurred. You may need a different combination of medicines.
- You did not take your medicine as prescribed. If you have
trouble taking the medicines exactly as prescribed, talk with your