How is AIDS / HIV Treated?

Though it wasn't always the case, there are now drugs available to help fight HIV:

  • Fusion Inhibitors. Blocks HIV from entering the body's cells.
  • Protease Inhibitors. Keeps the virus from copying itself at late stages.
  • RT (Reverse Transcriptase) Inhibitors. Prevents the virus from copying itself at early stages.
  • HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy). Using three or more drugs in combination to treat the symptoms of HIV and AIDS.

Drugs are also used to treat the infections that could set in due to the suppression of the immune system:

  • Eye infections. Foscarnet or Ganciclovir.
  • Fungal infections. Fluconazole.
  • Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. TMP/SMX or pentamidine.

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Recovery Time

There is no treatment that will cure HIV or AIDS. Treatment is to prevent the disease from developing and treating the opportunistic infections that will likely arise. As such there is no timeline for recovery.


The time between the initial display of acute HIV symptoms to the onset of later symptoms can range from months to more than ten years. At that time, many of the treatments will be much less effective, if they even work at all. Treatment should begin as early as possible to keep the patient's quality of life as high as possible for as long as possible. It has been shown that patients who stop using their antiviral medications can have a recurrence of acute HIV symptoms, but these can be resolved by resuming treatment.

Quick Snapshot

Can it be cured?
No. Viruses don't have cures, but symptoms can be controlled with proper treatment.
Type of Infection
Viral. AIDS is caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).
How is it treated?
Antiviral Medication. HIV/AIDS is treated with a variety of antiviral medications: fusion inhibitors, protease inhibitors and RT inhibitors are the most common.
Recovery Time
AIDS / HIV is Incurable. HIV/AIDS is incurable; as such treatment is aimed at slowing progression and treating symptoms.
Can I have sex?
Yes. Partners should be informed of your condition and condoms/dams should be used consistently.
Can I get re-infected?
No. HIV is incurable; once you are infected, you will carry the disease with your for life.

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