- ARVs are drugs taken by people infected by HIV and AIDS that is a killer disease. The drugs are given to patients in Kenya for free. They help to boost an HIV infected person’s immunity system. These medicine have proved to increase the lifespan of people living with the deadly desease. It prevents HIV from multiplying hence protecting the cells that the virus would target.
Side effects of ARVs:
- Liver toxicity and rash.
- Fat changes(Lipodystrophy.)
- Mood changes.
- Feeling sick.
- Anaemia; AZT and lactic acidiosis
- Peripheral neuropathy.
How long ARVs take to work
The drugs can take a while before they start working. The reactions can disappear within three weeks of using the treatment. If the infected person has TB, before the treatment starts the TB must be treated first. Then when it’s full healed,the ARV drugs are introduces to the body.
Note: Everyone infected with HIV and AIDS must take TB drugs.
Types (classes) of ARV drugs.
There are thirty anti retroviral medications in six drug classes. Though we have six main classes of the drugs. Drugs from two classes are combined to ensure a powerful attack on HIV.
People start HIV treatment on two drugs from the nucleioside or nucleiotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor, one non nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or one protease inhibitor hence the triple therapy.
Nucleoside or nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors and NtRTIs called NRTIs work by targeting the action of an HIV protein called reverse transcriptase. After the HIV virus releases its genetic material into a host cell, reverse transcriptase converts the viral RNA to DNA process called reverse transcription. This class of medication is also called ‘backbone’ of a first line HIV treatment combination that include the following drugs.
- Tenofovil disoproxil
- Tenofovil aletenamide
What happens when you stop taking the ARV drugs:
If it happens that you stop taking the drugs they will stop working. Hence the virus level in the body will start increasing. But if you have side effects you are required to immediately stop the treatment.
Many ask if they can infect their fellows when they are on drugs. If the drug is taken daily at the appropriate time, the virus is not likely to multiply, but when when you decide to have kids consult the doctor first.
HIV is also associated to weight gain and loss to some people. This is because ARVs cause fat accumulation a round the waist to some people.