HIV/AIDS

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a sexually transmitted virus that may be spread through contact with infected blood, unprotected sex with an infected party, mother to child transmission by pregnancy, and through breast feeding. HIV may take years to progressively weaken the immune system and may eventually become a case of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is a chronic and life threatening condition caused by HIV, rendering the body’s immune system to grow weak and unable to fight invading organisms to the body.

AIDS Prevention Alert

The AIDS drug called Tenofovir is being used by some thinking they will be protected from the virus during unprotected sex. This drug may be offered on the street, in night clubs, and prescribed by a small group of physicians. However, many other physicians contend that there is no scientific evidence to support the safety and effectiveness of using this drug to prevent Aids. Public officials warn that people who practice unsafe sex while taking the drug may become infected or suffer side effects from the drug. In essence, Tenofovir does not offer AIDS Prevention, people practicing unsafe sex may still become infected and they may experience side effects.

Anti-HIV Drugs

There are at least five Anti-HIV Drugs used to significantly treat HIV/AIDS and delay its progression, including:

Non- Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTI)– NNRTIs disable the protein needed by the virus to make copies of itself, thereby stopping viral replication. Examples of NNRTIs include: Efavirenz, Etravirine, and Nevirapine.

Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTI) – NRTIs are like faulty or imperfect versions of the viral building blocks that HIV needs for self replication. Examples include: Abacavir, drug combinations of emtricitabine and tenofovir, lamivudine and zidovudine.

Protease Inhibitors (PIs) – PIs disable the enzyme proteases that the HIV also needs for self replication. Examples include: Atazanavir, Darunavir, Fosamprenavir, and Ritonavir.

Entry or Fusion Inhibitors – These drugs block the entry of HIV to CD4 cells. Examples include: Enfuvirtide, and maraviroc.

Integrase Inhibitor – Raltegravir is an integrase inhibitor that disables the integrase, a protein enzyme used by HIV to integrate viral genetic material to CD4 cells.

Outcome

HIV and AIDS are both incurable. Treatment options only offer a delay in the progression of the disease and lower the viral load. Viral load may later be undetectable with treatment, but one infected may still transmit HIV and cause AIDS because the test for viral load is just not sensitive enough to pick up lower loads of virus in the blood stream.

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.