The Molecules of HIV

Note: this site last updated in 2006


An article from "The Molecules of HIV" (c) Dan Stowell

Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART) consists of 3 or more highly potent anti-HIV drugs, commonly reverse%20transcriptase%20inhibitors">reverse%20transcriptase">reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors.

The principle that lies behind HAART is that a single drug therapy may be successful for a while, but because HIV changes to avoid detection, drug-resistant strains will often arise in the patient. (This happens through a kind of evolution by natural selection - any new viruses which happen to be resistant to the drug will go on to multiply, while the others are stopped.) The chances of a HIV genome mutating such that it can resist three separate drug treatments at once, however, is so small that the pressure of this therapy prevents the emergence of resistant strains.

Written by
Dan Stowell

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