n Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine - New antiretrovirals : what's in it for Southern Africa? : clinical : ART

Volume 9, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1608-9693
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6751



The rise of novel antiretrovirals (ARVs) has introduced a new evolutionary phase in HIV care. In developed countries, the 1980s and early 1990s were characterised by palliative care and opportunistic infection prophylaxis; the late 1990s by an attempt to use a limited and toxic antiretroviral arsenal effectively while cycling through high levels of resistance; and finally, the first half of this decade by working out the easiest-to-take regimens, using the steadily rising number of safer drugs. At present, there are 8 nucleoside analogues (NRTIs), 3 non-nucleoside analogues (NNRTIs), 10 protease inhibitors (PIs), and one each of the fusion, entry and integrase inhibitors to choose from, along with a new drug pipeline that targets both existing and new targets in the viral replicative cycle. The choice may seem quite vast, but the reality is that many of these drugs cannot be used simultaneously or in patients with extensive drug resistance. In addition, some drugs have unacceptable toxicities and are not favoured in current treatment regimens.

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