What are the different types of HIV medications available?

Dr. Raveendran SR

Medical Microbiologist
HIV medications or antiretroviral drugs (ARV) have been classified into six major types: • Protease Inhibitors: These drugs are widely used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. They prevent viral replication by inactivating HIV protease, which is a protein needed by HIV to multiply itself. A few examples of PIs include atazanavir, indinavir, darunavir (DRV), and fosamprenavir. • Fusion Inhibitors: Also known as entry inhibitors, these drugs impede the binding, entry or fusion of the HIV virus into CD4 T cells. They slow the progression of HIV infection to AIDS by impairing the replication cycle of HIV. Enfuvirtide (INN) and maraviroc are examples of entry inhibitors. • Integrase Inhibitors: INIs disable the action of a viral enzyme called integrase that allows insertion of the viral genome (genetic material of HIV) into CD4 T cells. Dolutegravir (DTG) and raltegravir (RAL) are few popular INIs. • Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors: The HIV virus requires a certain protein in order to proliferate. NNRTIs make that protein unavailable to the virus. Efavirenz (EFV), etravirine (ETR) and nevirapine (NVP) are well-known NNRTIs. • Nucleoside or Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors: NRTIs are drugs that are the defective versions of the building blocks that HIV requires to replicate. Abacavir (ABC), emtricitabine/tenofovir, and lamivudine/zidovudine are some examples of NRTIs. • Booster Drugs: This class of medicines help amplify the action of protease inhibitors. A booster drug taken in combination with an antiretroviral medicine allows for longer retention of the primary drug in the body, thereby increasing its effectiveness. Ritonavir and cobicistat are examples of booster drugs. HIV prevention treatment Other than the medication mentioned above, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is an ARV treatment used in the healthcare industry to prevent HIV infection when potential exposure is suspected. It involves a short-term emergency course of HIV medicines to be taken soon after the incidence of a potential transmission.
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