(877) 457-3082(866) 660-2593
M-F 6a-9p | Sat 7a-9p | Sun 9a-9p CDT
Reviewed by Ruthann Cunningham, MD., July 10, 2017
HIV can be treated, but there is no cure.
When HIV was first discovered, there were very few drugs available to
treat the virus and fend off infection. Since then HIV treatments have
come a long way. While there is not yet a cure for HIV, having the virus
is not a death sentence like it once was. It’s now considered a chronic
disease and infected people can live pretty normal and long lives. A
class of drugs called antiretroviral
medications slow the growth of HIV and extend quality of life. They
also help prevent HIV from advancing into AIDS.
Since HIV suppresses the body's immune system, treatment focuses on
reducing the effects of the virus on the body with the fewest number of
side effects. Response to treatment is measured by viral load. Viral load
is the amount of HIV virus in the blood. Viral load should be tested at the
start of treatment and then every three to four months. With the right health
care, lifestyle and medication, many people infected with HIV have undetectable
viral loads and normal lives.
How is HIV treated?
Treatment guidelines for HIV include antiretroviral regimens that can slow
down the virus and it’s damage to the immune system. The drug regimes can be
intense and expensive but they will greatly improve a patient’s long-term health
and survival. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best treatment
regimen with the least medication side effects.