There is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments available that can keep the virus in check and delay the appearance of symptoms. If you have HIV, you will have it for life but, medical advances have made living with HIV much more bearable.
The most common treatment available today is Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART), a combination of at least three antiretroviral medications, also known as the “AIDS cocktail.” These medications reduce the virus in the bloodstream to the point where it’s no longer detected. The cocktail delays HIV’s development into AIDS, rebuilds the immune system and reduces complications.
There are five classes of antiretroviral drugs. The cocktail generally includes three different drugs from two different classes. The classes are: Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs), Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs), Entry Inhibitors, Protease Inhibitors (PIs) and Integrase Inhibitors. While you’ll need to undergo drug therapy for life, HIV isn’t necessarily a death sentence. Combined HIV therapy has cut the death rate from HIV by half, expanding the lifespans of those who begin the cocktail, even in later stages of the virus. Once AIDS develops, death is inevitable, but treatment can increase life expectancy up to five years.
Learn more about treating HIV/AIDS in the below video: