The portfolio of HIV medicines available today has significantly improved the mortality rate and dramatically extended the lifespan of people living with HIV in many parts of the world. In addition, these medicines have helped to limit the transmission of HIV from mothers to children, thus preventing some childhood HIV infections.
HIV medicines belong to the class of antiretroviral drugs, often known as ARVs. These drugs reduce the amount of HIV in the body and so help a person to remain healthy for longer. There are several types of ARV and each type inhibits HIV in a different way. Some ARVs stop the virus entering cells of the body; other ARVs stop the HIV replicating inside human cells if it gets in.
The five main types of antiretroviral medicine are:
Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (N(t)RTIs), stop HIV replicating by blocking the viral enzyme reverse transcriptase
Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) also block reverse transcriptase but in a different way to NRTIs
Protease inhibitors (PIs), which prevent the production of mature, infectious virus particles in infected human cells by blocking an enzyme called protease
Fusion or Entry Inhibitors, which stop HIV from entering human cells where they could replicate
Integrase inhibitors, stop HIV replicating in cells by blocking a viral enzyme called integrase
A combination of these medicines is usually recommended and is known as HAART or highly active antiretroviral therapy. HAART has significantly improved life expectancy.
ViiV Healthcare currently has a portfolio of 10 established medicines, which were previously developed and marketed by GSK or Pfizer. Revenue from these products allows us to make major investments in the discovery and development of further innovative treatments and formulations
|Product brand name (generic name)
|Combivir (lamivudine + zidovudine)
|Epivir (lamivudine, also known as 3TC)
|Epzicom*/Kivexa (abacavir + lamivudine)
||NNRTI (US only)|
|Retrovir (zidovudine, also known as AZT)
||Entry inhibitor (CCR5 antagonist)|
|Trizivir (abacavir + lamivudine + zidovudine)
||Protease inhibitor |
(N. America only)
*US only brand name
Find out more about our medicines through the links below:
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