There’s no cure for HIV. So how do we treat this disease?
Antiretrovirals (ARVs) do NOT cure HIV
Very simply, there is no cure for HIV. If you have HIV, you’ll need to take these drugs every day for the rest of your life so the virus is constantly kept under control and does not progress to AIDS.
ARVs work in a number of ways to reduce the amount of HIV in the body, letting your immune system build itself back up.
There’s a whole load of different ARVs
There are loads of different anti-HIV drugs. Each drug fights HIV at different stages of virus’ life-cycle, so a positive person takes specific drugs that match the stage of the disease they’re in.
Fancy a cocktail?
Standard treatment for HIV includes a cocktail of three or more different ARVs to make sure HIV is supressed as much as possible. HIV is able to mutate and become resistant to drugs, and this is so-called combination therapy helps to combat such drug resistance.
Let’s get personal
Treatment for HIV is tailored for each person. A few factors influence what types of drugs people receive, such as whether or not the virus is resistant to specific drugs, underlying medical conditions, and the price and availability of drugs. If one combination has little effect, or produces severe side effects, another selection is tried.
The future of HIV treatment
ARVs have helped us make some pretty awesome advances in the global fight against HIV. Without them HIV would still be a death sentence for many. They’ve helped to reduce the number of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS.
HIV treatment is now being used to prevent the spread of HIV. Cases have also been reported where ARVs have “functionally cured” babies born with HIV, although the jury is still out on this treatment approach.
For more HIV information, click here.