Types of HIV/AIDS Antiretroviral Drugs

There are six major types of drugs used for treatment of HIV/AIDS known as antiretroviral because they act against the retrovirus HIV; these drugs are grouped as per their interference with steps in HIV replication.

  • Entry Inhibitors interfere with the virus’ ability to bind to receptors on the outer surface of the cell it tries to enter
  • Fusion Inhibitors interfere with the virus’s ability to fuse with a cellular membrane, preventing HIV from entering a cell.
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors prevent the HIV enzyme reverse transcriptase (RT) from converting single-stranded HIV RNA into double-stranded HIV DNA―a process called reverse transcription. RT inhibitors is divided into two types :1) Nucleoside/nucleotide RT inhibitors (NRTIs) 2) Non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTIs)
  • Integrate Inhibitors block the HIV enzyme integrase, which the virus uses to integrate its genetic material into the DNA of the cell it has infected.
  • Protease Inhibitors interfere with the HIV enzyme called protease, which generally cuts long chains of HIV proteins into smaller individual proteins. When protease does not work perfectly, new virus particles cannot be assembled
  • Multi-class Combination Products combine HIV drugs from two or more different classes, or types, into a single product.

Source (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services • National Institutes of Health)