How is HIV/AIDS treated?
There is no vaccine FDA-approved for immunization against HIV infection.

Although no drug will completely cure the virus, there are many anti-HIV medications that aid in preventing the virus from advancing to AIDS. If taken every day, they can allow patients to live long and productive lives. Typically, three or more drugs from at least two different classes are prescribed in combination with one another, to prevent the possibility that a single drug will develop resistance. This is referred to as antiretroviral therapy, or ART. The classes of HIV/AIDS medications are:

These drugs are designed to disable proteins that HIV needs to replicate, and to prevent the virus from entering and destroying healthy CD4 cells. The choice of which drugs are best for which types of patients is continually evolving. Combination therapies involving two or more of these classes of drugs are also available. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services develops and publishes updated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral agents in HIV-infected adults and adolescents.

In June 2012, the World Health Organization presented the concept of reducing the spread of HIV by using antiretroviral therapy, Antiretroviral Treatment as Prevention (TasP), before any patients are infected to decrease transmission. The consolidated guidelines are expected to be released in mid-2013.

Further information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/basic
Department of Health and Human Services: www.aidsinfo.nih.gov/
Mayo Clinic: www.mayoclinic.com/health/hiv-aids/DS00005
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/hivaids/Pages/Default.aspx
World Health Organization: www.who.int/hiv/en/

Last Reviewed: May 2013