How do medications treat HIV?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner
Anti-retroviral drugs stop HIV from replicating and growing. There are a number of different anti-retroviral drugs used to fight HIV. These drugs prohibit the action of certain enzymes that are involved in replication of the virus. If the drugs can slow the replication, this will decrease the destruction of white blood cells, called CD4 lymphocytes. The drugs must be taken regularly, as prescribed, for life; there is no cure for HIV. Other drugs are used to fight other effects of HIV infection, such as antibiotics to prevent opportunistic infections and others to stop side effects like nausea or pain.

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