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How do ARVs work?

By Vision Reporter

Added 22nd November 2009 03:00 AM

ANTIRETROVIRAL drugs (ARVs) work by blocking the multiplication of HIV in the body. HIV cannot reproduce on its own because its genetic material (RNA) cannot divide like human genetic material (DNA) does.

ANTIRETROVIRAL drugs (ARVs) work by blocking the multiplication of HIV in the body. HIV cannot reproduce on its own because its genetic material (RNA) cannot divide like human genetic material (DNA) does.

Face HIV with Dr. Watiti

Dear Doctor,
My sister has been taking ARVs for about three months and we have been amazed how much she has improved in such a short time. She likes eating and has even put on weight after years of ill health. How do these drugs work, yet we have been told they do not cure HIV/AIDS?
Sophie

Dear Sophie,
Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) work by blocking the multiplication of HIV in the body. HIV cannot reproduce on its own because its genetic material (RNA) cannot divide like human genetic material (DNA) does.

When HIV enters a human cell, it makes copies of itself instead of producing other cells. To do this, HIV comes armed with an enzyme, which translates RNA into DNA.

When cells of the immune system, which protect us from diseases are destroyed, one starts suffering from diseases that would not normally attack them.

To prevent this, we use ARVs which compete with and block this enzyme to prevent HIV multiplication. That is why we always tell people who are on ARVs not to miss a dose, because that would give HIV an opportunity to multiply since there are not enough ARVs in the body to block the replication.

How do ARVs work?

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