HIV Treatments

HIV Treatments

Have you been diagnosed with HIV? If so, don't worry, because there is treatment available! During the period of the 1980s and 1990s, getting Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) meant getting the disease known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). With this disease, the virus infects the human bloodstream. It is spread by direct contact of infected bodily fluids, such as the blood or through sexual activity. This virus targets the cells of the human immune system, such as the T cells and B cells. As a result, these cells start to die and the body is exposed to infections that it otherwise would be able to fight off.  While once catching HIV was a death sentence, that is no longer the case, as there has been a tremendous amount of research that has yielded a number of effective treatment options. With proper treatment of HIV, you can live a long happy life without developing AIDs. Read on to learn more.

The first class of prescription medications that are used to HIV is the nucleoside and nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors. These medications are created to look like the RNA and DNA base pairs of HIV. When these drugs are picked up by the HIV virus, they become a part of its genetic material. Unlike the typical HIV genetic material, the HIV virus is unable to replicate it. As a result, the HIV virus stops replicating and dividing. These drugs do have a number of possible side effects, including headache and diarrhea, which individuals should keep their doctor informed of. There are many classes of nucleoside and nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Some of the most common examples include Zidovudine and Stavudine.

The next type of HIV medication is called the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. These medications can be viewed as the opposite of the medications that were discussed above. These are often abbreviated NNRTIs. These medications still inhibit the replication of the genetic material of the HIV virus; however, they do not "look" like the genetic material of the HIV virus. Instead, these medications act directly on the enzyme itself, reverse transcriptase, and halt the replication process. There are many examples of this class of medication as well. Some of the popular examples include Abacavir, Didanosine, and Emtricitabine. These medications can have serious side effects that individuals should watch out for.

Another popular category of HIV medication is called protease inhibitors. The job of the protease is to lyse the human cell and release new, healthy copies of the HIV virus. Therefore, protease inhibitors help to prevent this action, trapping the HIV virus inside of the human cells. This medication is often used in combination with some of the other HIV medications to try and kill the virus. Like the other medications above, protease inhibitors are powerful medications that can have some serious side effects. Some of the most common protease inhibitors include Tipranavir and Saquinavir. When used in combination with other HIV medications, individuals have a good chance of keeping this deadly disease at bay.

In the end, most people who have been infected with HIV are going to be treated with a combination of multiple of the above medications. This helps prevent the virus from mutating and developing resistance to one or more of these drugs. If individuals adhere to the treatment regimen prescribed by their doctor, they are likely to have a long and healthy life.

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