How to Prevent HIV Infection

Preventing HIV comes down to personal behaviors that interrupt the chain of infection. HIV can infect only through the exchange of body fluids, so the easiest prevention methods include barriers, disinfection, and personal choices.

How HIV is Treated

The idea of highly active antiretroviral therapy is to use a combination of HIV drugs to attack components of the HIV virus, thus reducing viral replication capabilities. Treatment is usually for life (since HIV has no present cure). If early prophylaxis is used, HIV transmission odds are reduced greatly. In all likelihood HIV patients will receive a combination of drugs from among the following categories listed below (AIDS Meds, Treatment and Drug Information, 2014).

Nucleoside/Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs): This classification of drugs provide faulty nucleotides; when HIV uses these faulty nucleotides to convert RNA to DNA, it cannot complete the process due to the presence of bad genetic material. Drugs in this class include Combivir, Emtriva, Epivir, Epzicom, Retrovir Trizivir, Truvada, Videx, Viread, Zerit, Ziagen, Racivir, Amdoxovir, Apricitabine, and Elvucitabine.

Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs): NNRTIs prevent HIV enzymes from converting RNA to DNA by directly attaching "non-nucleotides." Brands include Atripla, Complera, Edurant, Intelence, Rescriptor, Sustiva, and Viramune.

Protease Inhibitors (PIs): CD4 cells, which are infected with HIV, are ordered to produce proteins, and HIV protease refines them into new HIV particles. These drugs interrupt enzyme conversion. Brands include Aptivus, Crixivan, Invirase, Kaletra, Lexiva, Norvir, Prezista, Reyataz, and Viracept.

Entry Inhibitors/Fusion Inhibitors: Entry inhibitors bind to the HIV proteins that are responsible for CD4 detection, in effect, preventing HIV from entering white blood cells. Drugs include Fuzeon, Selzentry, Vicriviroc, Ibalizumab, and PRO 140.

Integrase Inhibitors: These inhibitors help prevent viral replication, similar to NNRTIs, PIs and NRTIs, however, the main focus is to overcome HIV medication resistance. Drugs include Isentress, GSK-572, and Elvitegravir.

Maturation Inhibitors: This is an experimental class of drugs, which includes Bevirimat, a derivative of a Chinese herb called Syzigium claviflorum. This helps prevent the HIV virus particles from fully maturing.

Pharmacokinetic Enhancers: These enhance drug effectiveness (Norvir, Cobicstat, SPI-452).