HIV/AIDS Treatments

TreatmentsCurrently, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS.

HIV patients typically receive a combination of antiretroviral drugs, called “highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)”, because it has been proven that by attacking the different strains of the virus at different stages of its life-cycle by different classes of drugs, there is more likelihood of controlling replication and mutation, increasing T-cell counts, and reducing viral load, ideally to an undetectable level.  HAART is a combination of at least three drugs from at least two different classes.

There have been great advances in drug development since the ‘80s when AZT was the only choice.

Atripla, the first two-class, triple-drug combination in one pill, taken once a day, was approved in 2006 and has become one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for treatment-naïve (first time on therapy) patients.

Maraviroc (Selzentry) and raltegravir (Isentress) were both approved in 2007 and Isentress is now one of the most popular drugs on the market.

Currently in development are several nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) which are hoped to be effective if patients have developed resistence to older NRTIs; a few non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) which will hopefully be active for those who’ve developed resistence to NNRTIs like Sustiva and Viramune, as well as against strains of the virus that are resistant to other NNRTIs; integrase inhibitors like Isentress; a new “booster” drug that will act as Norvir currently does to boost other drugs in combination; two drugs in the new class called maturation inhibitors; and two monoclonal antibodies that will bind to receptors on T-cells to prevent HIV from entering the cells.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association of America has a database of new HIV drugs that are in the developmental stage.

Read more about HIV/AIDS Research

Alternative Treatments

Alternative treatments, from Chiropractic therapy to regimented dietary supplement plans, have been shown to produce positive results, as well, especially in helping patients deal with side effects of pharmaceuticals.

However, no alternative treatment has, to date, been shown to be as effective as pharmaceutical drugs. It is also important to note that many herbs are contraindicated (interfere with) when combined with certain antiretroviral drugs.

SafePositive.com provides an extensive library of such treatments, and endorses exploring these alternative solutions with a licensed physician.

All HIV/AIDS Alternative Treatment Options

Selected References
AIDS.org. www.aids.org. Accessed March 29, 2009.
American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). www.amfar.org. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). www.cdc.gov. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. www.pedaids.org. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Halperin DT, Steiner MJ, Cassell MM, et al. The time has come for common ground on preventing sexual transmission of HIV. Lancet. 2004 Nov 27-Dec 3;364(9449):1913-5.
Loutfy MR, Antoniou T, Shen S, et al. Virologic and immunologic impact and durability of enfuvirtide-based antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected treatment-experienced patients in a clinical setting. HIV Clin Trials. 2007 Jan-Feb;8(1):36-44.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD). www.niaid.nih.gov. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. www.naturalstandard.com. Copyright © 2009. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Rigopoulos D, Gregoriou S, Paparizos V, et al. AIDS in pregnancy, part II: Treatment in the era of highly activeantiretroviral therapy and management of obstetric, anesthetic, and pediatric issues. Skinmed. 2007 Mar-Apr;6(2):79-84.
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource. www.thebody.com. Accessed March 29, 2009.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). www.fda.gov. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Vrouenraets SM, Wit FW, van Tongeren J, et al. Efavirenz: a review. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2007 Apr;8(6):851-71.