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Medicines for HIV and AIDS are used to decrease the amount of HIV in the body and to strengthen the immune system. HIV is treated using a combination of medicines to fight HIV infection. This is called antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART isn’t a cure, but it can control the virus so that you can live a longer, healthier life and reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others. ART involves taking a combination of HIV medicines (called an HIV regimen) every day, exactly as prescribed.
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Medicines for HIV and AIDS are sometimes called antiretroviral medicines. HIV medicines are grouped into six drug classes according to how they fight HIV. The six drug classes are:
The six drug classes include more than 25 HIV medicines that are approved to treat HIV infection. Some HIV medicines are available in combination (in other words, two or more different HIV medicines are combined in one pill.) Although these medicines do not cure HIV, they slow the progression of HIV to AIDS. They are effective at allowing people with HIV to live their lives as normally as possible. Since the introduction of medicines to treat HIV, the death rates from AIDS have reduced dramatically. Newer medicines are more effective than medicines used in the past. If you have HIV and do not take HIV medicines, eventually - typically, over a number of years - your viral load increases and the number of CD4 T cells decreases significantly. Your immune system becomes very weak. This means that you are open to getting infections and your body is unable to fight the infection. These infections can become serious and overwhelming for your body and you are likely to die. These medicines do no cure people the infection is still there in the body. They can still spread HIV to others through unprotected sex and needle sharing. According to the recent research in the field of medicine the first complete treatment for AIDS that is taken once a day as a single pill is expected to be available soon. The new drug is a combination of drugs already on the market — Sustiva, by Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Truvada, by Gilead Sciences. HIV statistics for the end of 2011 indicate that around 34 million people are living with HIV. Each year around 2.5 million more people become infected with HIV and 1.7 million die of AIDS. Although HIV and AIDS are found in all parts of the world, some areas are more afflicted than others. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides guidelines on the use of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection. The HHS guidelines recommend starting ART with a regimen of three HIV medicines from at least two different drug classes. NIH AIDS Info’s FDA-Approved Medicines provides a complete list of HIV medicines, grouped by class, that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in the United States.
It has been estimated that between US$22-24 billion will be needed annually by 2015, in order to reach global targets. In 2011, there was a total global investment of 16.8 billion, a gap in resources of 30 percent. The Global Fund, which provides antiretroviral treatment to 2.5 million people worldwide, received $11.3 billion for three years in 2010 out of the $20 billion it calculated it needed over this period. Funding from the US government, mainly through PEPFAR, was also flat-lined from 2009-2010 for the first time since its creation in 2003. That year the PEPFAR budget for antiretroviral treatment was also reduced and funds for ARV drugs fell by 17 percent. The percentage of countries where antiretroviral treatment programmes were adversely affected by reduced external funding rose from 11 percent to 21 percent from July 2008 to July 2009. International funding still deteriorated in 2011 - the improvement in global available resources was largely a result of many countries increasing their domestic investment in HIV and AIDS. Domestic spending in low- and middle-income countries increased from US$ 3.9 billion in 2005 to nearly $8.6 billion in 2011, and for the first time, that year domestic resources outnumbered international resources in the HIV response. Eastern Europe and Central Asia are seen as particularly vulnerable to the effects of reduced external funding and the economic crisis. Already less than a quarter of people in need of treatment in the region are receiving it but drug stock-outs are common and government health expenditure on HIV and AIDS treatment programmes has fallen sharply, according to UNAIDS country coordinators. In September 2010, the arrests of activists in Moscow protesting against ARV drug stock outs in hospitals highlighted the grave lack of access to HIV treatment in Russia.
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This page was last updated on December 6, 2021