Although the various drugs against HIV and AIDS are all effective for themselves and slow down the multiplication of the HIV, none of the drugs can completely prevent the multiplication. This is because errors in the reproduction of the viruses can cause mutations that continue to multiply despite a particular drug.
If only one drug is taken, a mutant HI virus can spread very quickly. If the majority of viruses in the body are equipped with the modified blueprint, the drug is no longer effective. To prevent this, different AIDS drugs are usually combined. Then, if a mutation occurs that makes one drug no longer effective, the next one intervenes and prevents further spread of the mutation.
Through combination therapy, the number of HI viruses can be kept so low that most of them are no longer detectable in the body. The detection limit is 25 to 50 copies per milliliter of blood.
Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART)
In the mid-1990s, the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) - a combination therapy for the treatment of AIDS - was introduced. It is still the standard treatment for AIDS patients. As part of the therapy at least three different drugs are combined.
In the context of combination therapy, two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) are particularly frequently combined with a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) or a protease inhibitor (PI). Meanwhile, newer drugs such as entry or integrase inhibitors are also being included in the therapy.
Through close monitoring, the treating physician repeatedly checks whether the patient has developed resistance to a specific drug. If this is the case, a drug change is made.
Individual therapy is important
To achieve the best possible result, the AIDS therapy must always be tailored to the individual patient.
Often, the therapeutic success is particularly great when the doctor or practice already has much experience with the treatment of AIDS patients. Ideally, HIV-infected individuals or AIDS patients should seek out an HIV outpatient clinic or specialized HIV practice.
Consistent treatment crucial
Due to possible side effects some patients are afraid of treatment. If this is the case, you should speak openly with your doctor about your concerns. Under no circumstances should you take the medication irregularly or completely without consulting your doctor - otherwise the success of the therapy is endangered.
If the treatment plan is not followed closely, it may increase the viral load in the body again. Likewise, the occurrence of resistances can be promoted.
AIDS: life expectancy and chances of recovery
AIDS is not curable until today. However, the drugs developed in recent years mean that the disease can now be effectively treated. If the virus is detected early in the body, a nearly normal life is possible for those affected. Their life expectancy is often only minimally below that of healthy individuals.
To avoid the occurrence of life-threatening infections, lifelong use of AIDS drugs is necessary. The medications can significantly improve the quality of life of those affected and increase their life expectancy. However, the virus can not be completely removed from the body.
Costs will be covered by the health insurance
The cost of AIDS treatment is relatively high. The exact costs are individually different. Among other things, they depend on the combination of active ingredients used and the dosage. As a rough guide can be expected with 1, 500 euros per month.
Decisive for the costs is also whether, in addition to the AIDS drugs, other remedies for the side effects caused by the treatment must be taken. The costs for the AIDS therapy carries in Germany the health insurance.