What is antiretroviral therapy?

How are medicines used to treat HIV?

Medicines used to treat HIV are called antiretrovirals. Usually two or three are combined into one pill. This is called antiretroviral therapy (ART). There are many possible combinations.

Taking ART can prevent AIDS and help you live a healthy life. And it can help prevent the spread of HIV to others. But ART doesn't cure HIV, so you will need to keep taking it.

When choosing medicine for you, your doctor will think about:

  • How well the medicines reduce HIV in your blood.
  • How safe the medicines are.
  • Other medicines you take and your health history.
  • The cost of medicines.
  • Helping your treatment fit into your schedule.

Over time, ART medicines might stop working to control the virus. This is called resistance. Taking your medicine as directed can help prevent it. If resistance happens, your doctor will look for another mix of medicines that will work.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART)

Antiretroviral therapy, or ART, is the use of a combination of medicines to slow the rate at which HIV makes copies of itself (replicates) in the body.

How do antiretrovirals work?

There are many types of antiretrovirals. Usually two or three medicines are combined in a single pill. This is called antiretroviral therapy (ART). There are many possible combinations. Most people take one or two pills a day.

How do antiretrovirals work?

When you take ART, the virus is slower to make copies of itself (multiply) in the body. This allows your immune system to stay healthy. But ART doesn't cure HIV. For the medicine to work, you will need to keep taking it every day.

What are some cautions about antiretrovirals?

Cautions for antiretrovirals include the following:

  • It's very important to take your HIV medicine as prescribed. If you miss doses, HIV may become resistant to the medicine. This makes HIV harder to treat.

Why are antiretrovirals used?

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) reduces the amount of virus in your body (viral load). This helps keep your immune system healthy. ART can prevent AIDS and help you live a long and healthy life. And it can help prevent the spread of HIV to others.

What are the side effects of antiretrovirals?

Some people feel sick to their stomach when they take these medicines. They may have belly pain or vomit. Some people have diarrhea. They may also feel tired or dizzy.

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