HIV Antiretroviral Therapy: Past, Present and Future

HIV Antiretroviral Therapy: Past, Present and Future

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Introduction to Antiretroviral Therapy

In the 1980s and early 1990s, a positive HIV test came with a grim prognosis. Yet in the last two decades, antiretroviral therapy has dramatically improved the health of HIV-positive individuals. Today, the life expectancy of HIV-positive people approaches that of the average population. In fact, for some North American patients, life expectancy exceeds the average.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, a positive HIV test came with a grim prognosis. Yet in the last two decades, antiretroviral therapy has dramatically improved the health of HIV-positive individuals. Today, the life expectancy of HIV-positive people approaches that of the average population. In fact, for some North American patients, life expectancy exceeds the average.

As the medical community learned more about HIV, experts realized that a combination of different antiretrovirals was far more effective than a single drug. Today, most patients are treated with a cocktail of three drugs. The pharmaceutical industry successfully coformulated many of these drugs into combination pills, so patients no longer have to take dozens of pills per day.

There are now 15-million people on treatment around the world. Despite these gains, there is more to learn about the optimal combination of antiretroviral drugs, and guidelines are still evolving.

During a presentation at IAS 2015, Roy M. Gulick, M.D., presented a history of antiretroviral therapy, described the current treatment landscape and discussed new developments in the field.