Do you know about the latest and most effective treatments for HIV available in 2024? If you’ve tried searching on Google, you know how much conflicting information is out there. That’s why we’ve done the research for you, drawing from trusted sources like the NHS, Mayo Clinic, and Medline. While there’s still no complete cure for HIV, there are some highly effective treatments that help most people with the virus to live long, healthy lives. We have break down these treatments into three categories: Emergency HIV Drugs, Drugs to control HIV, and Drugs to eliminate HIV.

Emergency HIV Drugs
If you think you might have been exposed to HIV, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) medicine could help prevent infection. PEP needs to be started within 72 hours after exposure to be effective. It’s usually recommended after high-risk exposure, especially if your partner is known to be HIV positive. You’ll need to take HIV medicine every day for one month, and it might cause some side effects.
If you’re diagnosed with HIV, you’ll need regular blood tests to track the progress of the infection before starting treatment. Two important blood tests are:
  • HIV viral load test: This measures the amount of HIV in your blood.
  • CD4 lymphocyte cell count: This shows how the virus has impacted your immune system.

You can begin treatment at any time after your diagnosis, depending on your situation and after discussing it with your HIV doctor.

Drugs to control HIV

HIV is treated with antiretroviral medicines that stop the virus from replicating in the body. This helps the immune system repair itself and prevents further damage. A combination of HIV drugs is used because the virus can quickly adapt and become resistant. Some HIV treatments are combined into a single pill, called a fixed-dose combination, though these can be more expensive. People newly diagnosed with HIV usually take between 1 and 4 pills a day. Different combinations of HIV medicines work for different people, so your treatment will be tailored to you.

The viral load, or the amount of HIV in your blood, is measured to see how well the treatment is working. When the viral load becomes undetectable, it means the virus is no longer measurable. Most people achieve an undetectable viral load within 6 months of starting daily treatment.

Certain medications, including some nasal sprays, inhalers, herbal remedies like St John’s wort, and recreational drugs, can interact with HIV treatments. Always check with your HIV clinic or GP before taking any other medicines.

The key components of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) are essential in effectively managing HIV/AIDS by targeting different stages of the HIV life cycle. Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs) are one class of drugs that block reverse transcriptase, an enzyme HIV needs to replicate its genetic material. Examples include Lamivudine (3TC), Zidovudine (AZT), and Tenofovir (TDF). Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs), such as Efavirenz (EFV) and Nevirapine (NVP), also inhibit reverse transcriptase but in a different manner. Protease Inhibitors (PIs) like Atazanavir (ATV) and Darunavir (DRV) target protease, another enzyme critical for HIV replication. Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors (INSTIs), including Raltegravir (RAL) and Dolutegravir (DTG), prevent HIV from integrating its genetic material into human cells by blocking the integrase enzyme. Lastly, Entry Inhibitors, such as Enfuvirtide (T-20) and Maraviroc (MVC), prevent HIV from entering human cells. By combining these drugs, ART effectively reduces the viral load, maintains immune function, and prevents the progression of HIV to AIDS.
Drugs to eliminate HIV
Nowadays, we have injectable treatments like cabotegravir and rilpivirine. These medications have long half-lives, which means they can remain in the body for longer periods compared to tablets. This enables long-acting treatment options, where injections every one or two months are sufficient to maintain adequate levels of the medication in the blood to effectively suppress HIV.
In the ongoing fight against HIV, researchers have been exploring innovative approaches to find a cure for this persistent virus. One promising avenue is the groundbreaking Crispr gene-editing technology, which has shown potential in eliminating HIV from infected cells. Although the path to a definitive cure is ongoing, research teams worldwide are making notable progress in this endeavor. For instance, a team of scientists at the University of Amsterdam recently achieved complete elimination of HIV from the human body in a proof-of-concept model using Crispr technology.
Check out our recent article below for updates on trials that are nearing an HIV vaccine. [Article]


By The Research Mind

We, researchers from the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge, are dedicated to sharing the latest updates, breakthroughs, and even the occasional blunders in Science & Technology. Stay tuned for some truly mind-blowing science experiments!

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