HIV Treatments Today HIV Treatments Today

[+] HIV
Treatments
Today

There are many treatment options available today. Work with your healthcare provider to find the best treatment option for you.

Your healthcare provider will
explain that some HIV medicines:

  • Can be taken day or night, at the same time every day

  • Must be taken with food or drink while others can be taken on an empty stomach

  • Must be taken with other HIV medicines as part of a "regimen" or are combined into a single pill that's taken every day

Your healthcare provider will work with you to find a treatment plan that is right for you, while managing possible side effects along the way.

Your health goals, today and tomorrow.

To get HIV to undetectable, you have to take a combination of HIV medications. The medications control the virus in different ways. Some HIV pills today contain several different medications in one pill. It is important to know what’s in your HIV medication.

Also, take your long-term health into consideration when deciding which medication is best for you. Work with your doctor to better understand its possible long-term effects.

HIV medication has to be taken exactly as it’s prescribed.

If you skip or stop taking your HIV medication, it could make your HIV resistant and much harder to treat. That’s why it’s so important to stick to your treatment. Always talk to your healthcare provider before you skip or stop taking your medication.

There are 6 classes of HIV-1 medicines.

When HIV enters the body, it sets out to make more copies of itself, attacking CD4+ T-cells in the process. Because this takes multiple steps, people with HIV need a combination of multiple medications to attack the virus at different points in the process.

Here are the 6 different types of HIV medications that do that.

  1. Entry Inhibitors

    Prevent HIV from getting into your body’s CD4+ T-cells.

  2. Fusion Inhibitors

    Are one type of Entry Inhibitor. They prevent HIV from getting into your body’s CD4+ T-cells.

  3. NRTIs (Nucleoside/Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors)

    Block reverse transcriptase, which HIV needs to make more copies of itself.

  4. NNRTIs (Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors)

    Block reverse transcriptase, which HIV needs to make more copies of itself.

  5. INSTIs (Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors)

    Block integrase, which HIV needs to make more copies of itself.

  6. PIs (Protease Inhibitors)

    Block proteases, which HIV needs to assemble itself correctly. If HIV is not assembled correctly, it can’t infect other cells.

Today, there are single tablet regimens for HIV, though even single tablets can combine up to four different medications. It’s important to know what is in your HIV treatment and how it may affect your body.

Source: AIDSinfo, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://aidsinfo.nih.gov.

Side effects

HIV medicines can have side effects, but most can be managed with the help of your healthcare provider. What’s really important when you’re taking your medicine is to keep track of side effects you’re having and tell your healthcare provider about them—especially if the side effects are bothering you so much that you want to stop taking your medicines.

Use the checklist to talk to your healthcare provider about side effects.


Side Effects Checklist

When you take HIV medication, have you noticed that you:
(Check all boxes that apply)

If you checked anything on the list, or had any other side effects, it’s very important to tell your healthcare provider about it.

This checklist does not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Please partner with your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment regimen for you.

Do you have trouble sleeping? An upset stomach?

Side effects from your HIV medication could be the cause. Talk with your healthcare provider. Together, you can determine whether it’s time to consider a different treatment option.

Drug interactions

If you’re on an HIV medication, taking other medicines can affect how your treatment works. Make sure you tell your healthcare provider and pharmacist about ANYTHING you’re taking, including prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements. Drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs can also affect how your medication works.

What is HIV “Resistance”?

HIV resistance means that the virus has adapted and some HIV medicines, including your current regimen, may no longer work. This can sometimes be caused by not taking your medicines as directed. You can help prevent your HIV from becoming resistant by:

  • Taking your medicines when and how they’re prescribed
  • Not skipping or stopping your medication
  • Going to your healthcare appointments to keep track of your numbers

Your healthcare provider may give you a blood test to see if your HIV virus is resistant, which will help them find a treatment that will still control the virus.