Combination therapy against HIV and AIDS

Combination therapy against HIV and AIDS

Although the various medicines for HIV and AIDS are all effective in their own right and slow down the multiplication of HIV, none of the drugs can completely prevent the multiplication. This is because errors in the virus reproduction can result in mutations that continue to multiply despite a specific drug.

A mutated HI virus can quickly spread if only one drug is taken. The drug is no longer effective if most viruses in the body are equipped with the changed blueprint. To prevent this, different AIDS drugs are usually combined. If a mutation makes one drug ineffective, the next one takes over and stops the mutation from spreading further.

With combination therapy, the number of HI viruses can be kept so low that most are no longer detectable in the body. The detection limit is 25 to 50 copies per millilitre of blood.

Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART)

Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) – a combination therapy for the treatment of AIDS – was introduced in the mid-1990s. It is still the standard treatment for AIDS patients today. At least three different active ingredients are combined as part of the therapy.

Two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) are combined with a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) or a protease inhibitor (PI) particularly frequently as part of combination therapy. In the meantime, however, newer drugs such as entry or integrase inhibitors are also included in the treatment.

The doctor treating the patient repeatedly checks whether the patient has developed resistance to a specific drug through close monitoring. If this is the case, the active substance is changed.

 

Individual therapy is essential.

To achieve the best possible result, AIDS therapy must always be individually tailored to the patient.

The success of the therapy is often particularly significant if the doctor or practice already has a lot of experience with the treatment of AIDS patients. Ideally, people infected with HIV or AIDS patients should, therefore, visit an HIV outpatient clinic or an HIV specialist practice.

Consistent treatment crucial

Due to possible side effects, some patients are afraid of the treatment. If this is the case for you, you should be open with your doctor about your concerns. Under no circumstances should you take the medication irregularly or stop entirely without consulting your doctor – otherwise, the success of the therapy will be jeopardized.

Failure to follow the treatment plan closely can cause the viral load in the body to rise again. The emergence of resistance can also be promoted.

 

AIDS: life expectancy and chances of recovery

There is still no cure for AIDS today. Thanks to medications developed in recent years, the disease can now be effectively treated. If the  virus is discovered in the body early,  an almost normal life is possible for those affected. Their life expectancy is often only slightly less than that of healthy people.

In order to avoid the occurrence of life-threatening infections,  lifelong use of AIDS medication is  necessary. The medication can significantly improve the quality of life of those affected and increase life expectancy. However, the virus cannot yet be completely removed from the body.

The health insurance company covers the costs

The cost of AIDS treatment is relatively high. The exact costs vary from person to person. They depend, among other things, on the combination of active ingredients taken and the dosage. As a rough guide, you can calculate 1,500 euros per month.

Another decisive factor for the costs is whether, in addition to the AIDS medication, other medications have to be taken to counteract the side effects caused by the treatment. In Germany, the costs for AIDS therapy are borne by the health insurance company.

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