Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

HIV & AIDS Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Infection - Treatment Overview

The most effective treatment for HIV is antiretroviral therapy (ART), a combination of several medicines that aims to control the amount of virus in your body. For more information, see Medications.

Other steps you can take include the following:

Starting treatment

Medical experts recommend that people begin treatment for HIV as soon as they know that they are infected.1, 2 Treatment is especially important for pregnant women, people who have other infections (such as tuberculosis or hepatitis), and people who have symptoms of AIDS.

Research suggests that treatment of early HIV with antiretroviral medicines has long-term benefits, such as a stronger immune system.1

But you may decide not to get treated at first. If you put off treatment, you will still need regular checkups to measure the amount of HIV in your blood and check how well your immune system is working.

You may want to start HIV treatment if your sex partner doesn't have HIV. Treatment of your HIV infection can help prevent the spread of HIV to your sex partner.1

HIV: When Should I Start Taking Antiretroviral Medicines for HIV Infection?

Treatment to prevent HIV infection

Health care workers who are at risk for HIV because of an accidental needlestick or other exposure to body fluids should get medicine to prevent infection.7

Also, medicine may prevent HIV infection in a person who has been raped or was accidentally exposed to the body fluids of a person who may have HIV.8 This type of treatment is usually started within 72 hours of the exposure.

And studies have shown that if you are not infected with HIV, taking antiretroviral medicines can protect you against HIV.9, 10, 11 But to keep your risk low, you still need to use safer sex practices.

1 | 2
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

misconception
How much do you know?
contemplative man
What to do now.
 
research
Should you be tested?
HIV under microscope
What does it mean?
 
HIV AIDS Screening
Slideshow
man opening condom wrapper
Quiz
 
HIV AIDS Treatment
Feature
Discrimination Stigma
Feature
 
Treatment Side Effects
Feature
grilled chicken and vegetables
Article
 
obese man standing on scale
Article
cold sore
Article