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Anti Retroviral Drugs

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Anti-Retroviral Drugs are medicines that prevent the reproduction of a type of virus called a Retrovirus. The Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV), that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), is a Retrovirus.

Anti-Retroviral Drugs are used to treat infection with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. These medicines cannot prevent or cure HIV infection, but they help keep the virus in check to minimize other conditions caused by the virus, such as opportunistic infections.

Like other Anti-viral Drugs,Anti-retroviral Drugs do not kill viruses, because that could also damage or kill the cells the viruses have infected. Instead, these drugs block steps in the process through which viruses reproduce. In this way, Anti-retroviral Drugs slow down damage to the immune system and allow people infected with HIV to feel better and lead more normal lives. However, these drugs do not eliminate HIV, and they do not completely restore the immune system. Although people who take these drugs may feel well most of the time, they may still get serious infections and have other health problems. Furthermore, Anti-retroviral Drugs do not prevent the spread of HIV from an infected person to someone else. People taking these drugs must still observe all precautions to avoid infecting others.

There are three main types of Anti-retroviral Drugs:

  • Nucleoside Analogs, or Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs)
  • Non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs)
  • Protease Inhibitors
These drugs are all in the family of Anti-viral Drugs known as Nucleoside Analogs or Nucleoside reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs). Drugs in this family include Didanosine, Lamivudine, Stavudine, Zalcitabine and Zidovudine. These medicines are available only with a physician's prescription and come in liquid, tablet, capsule, and injectable forms.
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