HAART is a medication protocol for treating patients with HIV who have AIDS-defining lesions, or low CD4+ levels.
Once the diagnosis of HIV is made, HAART can be initiated. Antiretroviral therapy is recommended for all HIV-infected individuals to reduce the risk of disease progression. It is also is recommended for HIV-infected individuals for the prevention of transmission of HIV.
This treatment regimen consists of 3 drugs. A multiple drug approach is used to help attack the HIV virus at varying points of its life cycle and replication, and to resist mutation.
HAART is initiated with treatment of 2 NRTI medications. These 2 drugs are then combined with a third medication. NRTI medications work by inhibiting binding of nucleotides to reverse transcriptase and by terminating the DNA chain.
The third drug used in HAART can be an NNRTI, which is a drug that treats HIV by inhibiting nucleotide binding to reverse transcriptase at a different site of action than NRTIs.
The third drug used in HAART can be a protease inhibitor. This drug works by preventing the maturation of the new HIV virus from within the host cell.
The third medication used in HAART, along with the NRTIs, can be an integrase inhibitor. Medications in this class work by inhibiting HIV genome integration into the host cell.
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