Q: An HIV positive person, taking A.R.T. (Triomune-30) since the last 3 months, stopped it for three days due to some reason and then restarted it again. Please tell me if antibodies are developing in his body or not?
A:A variety of drugs are available which can slow down the multiplication of HIV in your body. These are called anti-retroviral or anti-HIV drugs. A number of these drugs are being used worldwide to treat people with HIV/AIDS. Your doctor will decide when to prescribe these medicines. This will depend on whether you feel ill, and also on the result of your blood tests - the CD4 cell count and viral load. Generally, your doctor will recommend a combination of 3 medicines for you. Such a combination is also referred to as the AIDS ‘cocktail’. HIV has the ability to rapidly develop resistance if any one drug is used alone. Hence, a minimum of three drugs have to be used in combination. This triple drug regimen is commonly referred to as HAART, which is an acronym for Highly Active Anti retroviral Therapy.
TRIOMUNE-30 contains Lamivudine + Stavudine + Nevirapine and is manufactured by Cipla in India.
Your doctor is the best judge of the combination of medicines suitable for you, and will tell you how to take them. These medicines work by reducing the multiplication of the virus in the body, and keeping it in check. This reduces the damage to the immune system, making it stronger and thereby enabling it to fight infections and disease. Importantly, these medicines will help you lead a longer and healthier life. Antibodies against HIV are not protective and the anti-retroviral therapy does not develop antibodies.
It is critically important to take these medicines in the right dose and at the right time, as recommended by your doctor. Whatever your doctor’s instructions are, be sure to follow them regularly. Missing one or more doses could lead to a renewed multiplication of the virus. More seriously, the virus could become resistant to the medicines that you are taking, making them ineffective. Your doctor will know if the medicines are working by regularly measuring the CD4 count and viral load in your blood. This is generally done at intervals of 3-6 months. Once you start taking these medicines, your CD4 count should start increasing and the viral load should fall. HIV/AIDS may now be considered as a chronic yet manageable illness. Therefore, prior to starting therapy, you must be fully prepared to take these drugs all your life. At a later stage or in certain situations, your doctor may change the medicines you are taking.