Anti-HIV Drug Treatment Options

Even though there is no cure for HIV or AIDs, there are a number of anti-HIV drug treatments available that can suppress HIV and reduce the risk of developing AIDS. Several treatment options can combat the virus at different stages of the HIV life cycle, preventing the steady deterioration of the cells and the immune system. In some cases, certain anti-HIV drug treatments can be powerful enough to prevent cells from copying themselves in the body’s T-cells. Many doctors recommend a combination therapy known as Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART), which involves taking a combination of three or more anti-HIV drugs on a specific schedule.

If you have HIV, talk to your doctor about your options for combination therapy (HAART) and other anti-HIV drug treatments. Your doctor will be responsible for monitoring the effects of each treatment cycle and making adjustments as needed.

Entry Inhibitors

Entry inhibitors are designed to stop HIV from entering the T-cells. These drugs can be effective for preventing the virus from “unlocking” the T-cells so that the virus cannot spread. These usually take the form of either entry inhibitors or fusion inhibitors.


Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are usually the base treatments for any HAART plan. These anti-HIV drugs work by preventing HIV from disguising itself once inside the T-cell. Some types of these drugs are more effective than others, but most doctors use at least NRTIs or NNRTIs as part of their treatment plan.

Integrase Inhibitors

These anti-HIV drugs are designed to prevent HIV from entering the T-cells command center. This area is where HIV is able to multiply, so it’s important to keep the virus out of the command center whenever possible. Integrase inhibitors are designed to keep HIV out completely and are often most effective when combined with other anti-HIV drugs. They are a class of antiretroviral drugs that work to block the action of the viral enzyme that puts the virus into the DNA.

Protease Inhibitors

These  anti-HIV drugs prevent HIV parts from being processing into finished copies and invading other T-cells. These drugs essentially prevent replication.  When HIV infects cells in a person’s body, it is able to copy its own genetic code into the cell’s DNA. The cell has now been “programmed’ to replicate itself and continue making HIV genetic material. Protease inhibitors work to prevent this process from even starting.

A combination of two or three antiretroviral drugs is often the most effective approach for preventing damage from HIV and for supporting the immune system. These drugs are often referred to simply as antiretrovirals, anti-HIV or anti-AIDS drugs, or ARVs. Taking a combination of two or more drugs is often just called combination therapy, while taking three or more drugs is referred to as HAART. Combination therapy is effective because the body would become very resistant to just a single drug and may stop working. A long-term treatment plan typically includes two or more anti-HIV drugs.

Talk to your doctor about HAART and other anti-HIV drug treatment options.