Medications for HIV Infection
Other names: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome; Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; Acute HIV Infection; Acute Retroviral Syndrome; AIDS; AIDS-Related Complex; ARC; Chronic Symptomatic HIV Infection; HIV; HIV Infection, Acute; HIV Seroconversion Syndrome; HIV/AIDS; Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection; Primary HIV Infection
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is a virus that attacks the immune system, specifically CD4 cells (also called T cells), which eventually reduces a person’s ability to fight infection. HIV can progress to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) if left untreated.
What Causes HIV?
HIV is thought to have originally mutated from a virus that infects chimpanzees, called simian immunodeficiency virus. Research has indicated that the virus probably mutated into HIV, which is a version that could infect humans, as far back as the late 1800s when the chimpanzees were hunted for meat.
HIV has been present in the United States since the mid to late 1970s.
Who is at Risk for HIV?
HIV can infect any person, no matter their age or gender or sexual preference. It is spread sexually, and by contact with infected blood, from mother to child during pregnancy, during childbirth, or through breast-feeding.
People have a higher risk of contracting HIV if they:
- Have sex. Even condoms don’t provide 100% protection against HIV and the virus can enter your body through mouth sores following oral sex.
- Have a blood transfusion, especially in certain countries overseas. The risk in America is very small as hospitals and blood banks now screen the blood supply for HIV antibodies.
- Share needles. IV drug paraphernalia (needles and syringes) may be contaminated with HIV or other infectious diseases, such as hepatitis
- Are pregnant and are HIV positive. Treatment for HIV during pregnancy significantly lowers the risk of passing on the infection to their babies
- Have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). STIs act as a gateway to HIV infection because they compromise tissues or break the skin barrier in your genital area
- Are an uncircumcised man. Research has shown this increases the transmission of HIV.
HIV cannot be spread through hugging, kissing, dancing or shaking hands with someone who has the infection. It is also not spread through insect bites, air, or water.
What are the Symptoms of HIV?
The symptoms of HIV and AIDS vary, depending on the phase of infection.
When you first acquire HIV it may take a month or two before symptoms show and these may last a week or two. Even then these may easily be confused with another type of viral illness, such as the flu, or so mild as not to be noticed initially. Symptoms of an initial acute HIV infection may include:
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- Painful mouth sores
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph glands, mainly on the neck.
The infection is easily spread during this stage.
The next stage of HIV infection is called clinical latent infection. Generally, there are few signs or symptoms during this stage which may last approximately 10 years, although some people may develop persistent swelling of the lymph nodes or more severe disease sooner. HIV persists in the bloodstream and white blood cells.
Infections start to become more common as the virus continues to multiply and destroy your immune cells. Signs and symptoms of symptomatic HIV infection include:
- Weight loss
- Yeast infection (eg, oral thrush)
- Swollen lymph nodes.
If left untreated, HIV usually progresses to AIDS (also known as stage 3 HIV) in about 10 years, although some people never develop AIDS despite never having treatment. A person is said to have AIDS when their CD4 count (a protein found on the surface of immune cells) falls below 200 (or the CD4 percentage falls below 14%) or when they develop certain opportunistic infections or cancers.
How is HIV Treated?
Although there is no cure for HIV, medications can dramatically slow the progression of the disease and people can live a relatively infection-free life. Few people die of AIDS these days thanks to effective treatments.
Medications used to treat HIV are called antiretrovirals (also referred to as ART or ARV). Most people with HIV take combination ART every day. ART also reduces the risk of HIV transmission. Approved ARV treatments are grouped into seven drug classes as follows:
- Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs)
- Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs)
- Protease inhibitors (PIs)
- Fusion inhibitors
- CCR5 antagonists
- Post-attachment inhibitors
- Integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs).
Drugs used to treat HIV Infection
The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.
Frequently asked questions
- How do you increase your CD4 count?
- What is an undetectable HIV viral load?
- Can Descovy be used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in HIV?
- Modafinil vs Adderall: What's the difference?
- Which medicines should not be taken with Biktarvy?
- Truvada vs Descovy: How do they compare for HIV and PrEP?
- Does Dovato cause weight gain?
- What if I miss a dose of Biktarvy?
- How fast or how long does it take Biktarvy to work?
Topics under HIV Infection
- Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (7 drugs)
Alternative treatments for HIV Infection
The following products are considered to be alternative treatments or natural remedies for HIV Infection. Their efficacy may not have been scientifically tested to the same degree as the drugs listed in the table above. However there may be historical, cultural or anecdotal evidence linking their use to the treatment of HIV Infection.
Learn more about HIV Infection
Symptoms and treatments
Medicine.com guides (external)
|Rating||For ratings, users were asked how effective they found the medicine while considering positive/adverse effects and ease of use (1 = not effective, 10 = most effective).|
|Activity||Activity is based on recent site visitor activity relative to other medications in the list.|
|Rx/OTC||Prescription or Over-the-counter.|
|Off-label||This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.|
|EUA||An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to authorize unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in a declared public health emergency when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.|
|Expanded Access||Expanded Access is a potential pathway for a patient with a serious or immediately life-threatening disease or condition to gain access to an investigational medical product (drug, biologic, or medical device) for treatment outside of clinical trials when no comparable or satisfactory alternative therapy options are available.|
|A||Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).|
|B||Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.|
|C||Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.|
|D||There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.|
|X||Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.|
|N||FDA has not classified the drug.|
|Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule|
|M||The drug has multiple schedules. The schedule may depend on the exact dosage form or strength of the medication.|
|U||CSA Schedule is unknown.|
|N||Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.|
|1||Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.|
|2||Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.|
|3||Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.|
|4||Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.|
|5||Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.|
|X||Interacts with Alcohol.|
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.