ANTIRETROVIRAL (ARV) THERAPY

How does ARV therapy work?

HIV is a virus attacking the immune system cells resulting in their ruining or diminishing the function, which leads to advanced reduction of the immune system function and results in immunodeficiency. ARV combination therapy prevents HIV from multiplying within an individual thus enabling the cells of the immune system, CD4 lymphocytes to live longer and provide protection from the infection.

Drugs used in therapy cannot lead to complete cure of HIV infection but show effect on slowing down viral multiplication, e.g. block the ability of HIV to replicate itself (viral replication), leave the cell and infect new cells of the body. The main goal of ARV therapy is prolonging expected circle of life and improving its quality by:
• Preventing advancement of HIV infection - striving for reducing the quantity of the viral load (less then 50 copies per blood/ml) as long as possible;
• Improves the immune system - when the quantity of viral load in small the number of CD4 count grows and body is more resistant to other infections.

Five classes of ARV therapy have been developed, e.g. its activity in respective phases of HIV life cycle and termination of its multiplication. In our country four classes are used: reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NNRTIs), protease inhibitors (PIs) and fusion inhibitors.