ARV Drugs: moving towards cure for AIDS

By Abigail Keefe
April 24, 2008

There are many forms of media being published today that discuss organizations like Catholic Relief Services and The Global Fund, who are providing treatment around the world to HIV/ AIDS patients. But from most of these articles one question often arises, what treatments are these organizations providing to their patients?

Today, the most common solution for treating HIV/AIDS is the use of Antiretroviral Drugs. When HIV enters the human body, it replicates and spreads into other cells. Just like how one can acquire bronchitis from an untreated cold or flu, an HIV patient, if untreated will be infected by AIDS.

But if an HIV patient is treated with ARV medications, the HIV will not spread through the body, and the patient will not suffer from the AIDS symptoms. If a patient has succumbed to AIDS and then the syndrome is killed by the ARV drugs, AIDS will not come back into the system unless the patient stops taking his or her medication and allows the spread of HIV.

ARV drugs can be taken as a co-blister, which is when two or more pills are packaged together, or as a fixed dose combination, which is when two or more drugs are combined into one pill, capsule or tablet.

The reason for co-blisters and FDC’s in ARV drugs is that HIV can become resistant or immune to these drugs. But if a patient is taking many drugs especially ones that attack different areas of the syndrome including replication, the syndrome will be less prone to resistance.

In other words, co-blisters and FDC’s can confuse the virus long enough to treat AIDS and fortunately bring it down to HIV.

However, there are still many problems with ARV treatments. The drugs obviously have many side effects including abdominal pain and the possibility of seizures and kidney stones. Also, the drugs must continuously be taken with perfect adherence to how it is prescribed, which for some can be hard considering the expensive cost of even a few doses of these drugs.

From this, we can understand that in curing AIDS, we can cure poverty, and in curing poverty we can cure HIV, then in curing HIV, we can save world.

Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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