There are seven major types of drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS. Called antiretrovirals (ART) because they act against the retrovirus HIV, these drugs are grouped by how they interfere with steps in HIV replication.

1. Entry Inhibitors interfere with the virus' ability to bind to receptors on the outer surface of the cell it tries to enter. When receptor binding fails, HIV cannot infect the cell.
  • Maraviroc (MVC). Brand name : Selzentry 
2. Fusion Inhibitors interfere with the virus’s ability to fuse with a cellular membrane, preventing HIV from entering a cell. • Enfuvirtide (T-20). Brand name : Fuzeon

3. Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors prevent the HIV enzyme reverse transcriptase (RT) from converting single-stranded HIV RNA into double-stranded HIV DNA―a process called reverse transcription. There are two types of RT inhibitors:

Nucleoside/nucleotide RT inhibitors (NRTIs) are faulty DNA building blocks. When one of these faulty building blocks is added to a growing HIV DNA chain, no further correct DNA building blocks can be added on, halting HIV DNA synthesis.
  • Abacavir (abacavir sulfate, ABC). Brand name : Ziagen 
  • Didanosine (delayed-release didanosine, dideoxyinosine, enteric-coated didanosine, ddI, ddI EC). Brand name : Videx, Videx EC (Enteric Coated) 
  • Emtricitabine (FTC). Brand name : Emtriva 
  • Lamivudine (3TC). Brand name : Epivir 
  • Stavudine (d4T). Brand name : Zerit 
  • Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Brand name : Viread 
  • Zidovudine (azidothymidine, AZT, ZDV). Brand name : Retrovir 
Non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTIs) bind to RT, interfering with its ability to convert HIV RNA into HIV DNA
  • Delavirdine (delavirdine mesylate, DLV). Brand name : Rescriptor 
  • Efavirenz (EFV). Brand name : Sustiva 
  • Etravirine (ETR). Brand name : Intelence 
  • Nevirapine (extended-release nevirapine, NVP). Brand name : Viramune, Viramune XR (extended release) 
  • Rilpirivine (rilpivirine hydrochloride, RPV). Brand name : Edurant 

4. Integrase Inhibitors block the HIV enzyme integrase, which the virus uses to integrate its genetic material into the DNA of the cell it has infected.
  • Dolutegravir (DTG). Brand name: Tivicay 
  • Elvitegravir (EVG). Brand name : Vitekta 
  • Raltegravir (raltegravir potassium, RAL). Brand name : Isentress 
5. Protease Inhibitors interfere with the HIV enzyme called protease, which normally cuts long chains of HIV proteins into smaller individual proteins. When protease does not work properly, new virus particles cannot be assembled.
  • Atazanavir (atazanavir sulfate, ATV). Brand name : Reyataz 
  • Darunavir (darunavir ethanolate, DRV). Brand name : prezista 
  • Fosamprenavir(fosamprenavir calcium, FOS-APV, FPV). Brand name : Lexiva 
  • Indinavir (indinavir sulfate, IDV). Brand name : Crixivan 
  • Nelfinavir (nelfinavir mesylate, NFV). Brand name : Viracept 
  • Ritonavir (RTV). Brand name : Norvir 
  • Saquinavir (saquinavir mesylate, SQV). Brand name : Invirase 
  • Tipranavir (TPV). Brand name : Aptivus 
6. Pharmacokinetic enhancers are used in HIV treatment to increase the effectiveness of an HIV medicine included in an HIV regimen.
  •  Cobicistat (COBI). Brand name : Tybost 
7. Multi-class Combination Products combine HIV drugs from two or more classes, or types, into a single product.
  • abacavir and lamivudine. Brand name : Epzicom 
  • abacavir, dolutegravir, and lamivudine. Brand name : Triumeq 
  • abacavir, lamivudine, and zidovudine. Brand name : Trizivir
  •  atazanavir and cobicistat. Brand name : Evotaz 
  • darunavir and cobicistat. Brand name : Prezcobix 
  • efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Brand name : Atripla 
  • elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Brand name : Stribild 
  • emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Brand name : Complera 
  • emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Brand name : Truvada 
  • lamivudine and zidovudine. Brand name : Combivir 
  • lopinavir and ritonavir. Brand name : Kaletra 
To prevent strains of HIV from becoming resistant to a type of antiretroviral drug, healthcare providers recommend that people infected with HIV take a combination of antiretroviral drugs in an approach called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Developed by NIAID-supported researchers, HAART combines drugs from at least two different classes (called an HIV regimen).

ART can’t cure HIV, but HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

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