Treatment for HIV

There is no cure for HIV. However, there are drugs that can 
stop HIV reproducing and can drive down the amount of the 
virus in your body to very low levels.

Combination therapy
Taking a combination of three or more drugs can stop HIV from reproducing
and allow your immune system to recover. It also stops HIV changing its nature, 
or mutating, every time it reproduces.

Every copy of itself that HIV produces is slightly different. HIV copies itself 
extremely fast, and quite frequently a copy of HIV will be produced that is 
not affected by one or more drugs. This is known as a resistant virus.

How combination therapy works
Different drugs stop HIV reproducing in different ways and a combination of 
three or more are needed to be effective. The aim of treatment is to reduce the 
quantity of the virus to minimum possible, although it won't completely disappear

There are now an increasing number of anti-HIV 
drugs for doctors to use in combination therapy.

Adherence
Combination therapy only works if you take the drugs you are given on time, 
every time. We call sticking to this medicine timetable `adherence'.

Side-effects
Many people experience short-term side-effects when they first start taking 
the drugs that they are prescribed, but these usually improve after a few weeks. 
Any long-term side-effects should be monitored by your doctor or clinic 
and dealt with if they occur.

Acute side-effects of anti-HIV drugs are rare, but if you 
experience any you should see your doctor immediately

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