Treatment Facts

What is a vaccine?
A shot that a doctor or nurse gives you that prepares your immune system to fight diseases like polio, tetanus, and chicken pox. Vaccines keep you from getting sick from these diseases.

Is there a vaccine for HIV?

No, but scientists and doctors are working very hard to develop one.

How do they treat HIV?

There are many different drugs available now for treating HIV/AIDS, but there is no cure. Antiviral drugs used to treat HIV can delay the progression to AIDS by slowing down the destruction of the immune system. So far, all HIV patients eventually develop AIDS, despite treatment. Much of the treatment involves treating the opportunistic infections that an AIDS patient may get. Pregnant women can take an anti-HIV drug which will decrease the chance of them transmitting HIV to their baby.

Can you name any drugs for HIV?

People who are treated for HIV infection are given many different drugs at once. Some common drugs used are AZT (the first anti-HIV drug discovered, 3TC, and protease inhibitors.

What are the disadvantages of these drugs?

Anti-HIV drugs have side effects that can make some people feel very sick. Some people stop taking the drugs because of this. These drugs are also very expensive. This is a problem for many people who do not have health insurance and cannot afford the thousands of dollars that these drugs can cost each year.