Treatments Available for the
Patient with HIV or AIDS
When a person is diagnosed with the HIV virus or AIDS, the first question a medical doctor is asked is, “what is
the treatment?” Treatment has come a long way since the discovery of this disease in the early 80’s.
are now new drugs that attack the HIV infection. Several drugs can be combined in
what is know as a drug cocktail that will attack the HIV virus at several different points.
There is a problem with combining drugs, there is a danger of the HIV virus becoming drug resistant and the
those drugs may no longer be effective.
People with high levels of virus in the blood will progress more rapidly to AIDS. It is not possible to
totally rid the body of the HIV virus; the goal is to suppress the virus so it cannot destroy more CD4 cells.
This allows the immune system to stay stronger and allow it to fight off infections that would otherwise not be
There are many antiretro drugs on the market today. There are at least four that are used most often in
fighting the HIV virus.
1. Fusion inhibitors, such as Fuzeon
2. Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
3. Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
4. Protease inhibitors
Some of the brand names for these various drugs are: Retrovir, AZT, Videx, Zerit, Viread and
Invirase. Others that are commonly used are Combivir, Crixivan, Viracept, and Sustiva. These are the
most recognized names in AIDS treatment.
Did You Know?
The best and most certain way of not getting HIV or AIDS is to avoid contact with
body fluids from an infected person. Contact can occur during homosexual or heterosexual activity.
Body fluids find an opening in the body and the infection is passed to another person.
The virus can get into the vagina, anus, mouth, and eyes. A person with an open cut
or wound can allow the virus into their body. If you are in the medical profession, it is urgent
you take precautions while handling patients. Gloves, masks, and goggles are necessary to protect
from accidental infection of the HIV virus.
Research on the HIV virus and the disease of AIDS has been continuing since the
early 1980’s. The epidemic is growing and scientists and researchers are constantly working on
vaccines and new therapies for AIDS and other HIV associated conditions.
There are over 30 HIV vaccines that are being tested on humans, and there are many
other drugs for HIV or AIDS related infections that are still being developed and tested by major
laboratories. Researchers are still trying to trace how the disease progresses and how it damages
the immune system.
The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved over 22 drugs for treating patients with the HIV or
AIDS virus. Included in these drugs are medications that also treat secondary infections that attack the body
because of its compromised immune system. The most common treatment method is with the use of active
antiretroviral therapy or HAART. It is a combination of inhibitors but it does have some side effects that
are uncomfortable. Side effects include nausea, and diarrhea. There is also a danger of drug
interaction with other common medications. Fusion inhibitors are saved for patients who are infected with a
drug resistant strain of HIV.
There are many treatment scams that prey on the vulnerability of AIDS patients. Unscrupulous companies are
bilking AIDS patients out of billions of dollars a year in their search for a cure. The Federal Drug
Association has formed a Health Fraud Task Force to look into these companies that are advertising “miracle”
cures. Some of the unapproved treatments are energized water treatment, ozone therapy, and hydrogen-peroxide
treatments. Companies hoping to capitalize on their desperation promise the AIDS patient remission and even
Keeping your body in the best physical shape and not putting yourself at risk, will
help keep you from getting infected and developing AIDS.
Remain healthy, eat a healthy diet, exercise and get plenty of rest. If you know
you are at risk, watch for the earliest signs and see a doctor immediately.
In addition to the medications approved for use in treating AIDS, some people should be treated
with other medications if their CD4 count drops lower than 200 per cubic milliliter of blood.
Research for treatments for the HIV and AIDS virus is ongoing. Soon we hope there will be a
substantial gain in treatment methods for this disease that has no cure. Then we must have the means to get
the treatment to the poorer countries of the world where AIDS has reached epidemic proportions.