Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are medications used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. These drugs target various stages of the HIV life cycle to prevent the virus from replicating and reducing the amount of virus in the body. ARV drugs do not cure HIV but slow down the progression of the disease, improve the quality of life, and increase the lifespan of infected individuals.
There are five classes of ARV drugs, each targeting different stages of the virus life cycle:
1. Nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs): These drugs work by blocking the reverse transcriptase enzyme, which is necessary for the virus to replicate its DNA. Examples include zidovudine, lamivudine, and tenofovir.
2. Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs): These drugs also block the reverse transcriptase enzyme but in a different way than NRTIs. Examples include efavirenz, nevirapine, and rilpivirine.
3. Protease Inhibitors (PIs): Protease is an enzyme that is essential for the virus to survive and reproduce. PIs inhibit this enzyme and decrease the amount of virus in the body. Examples include darunavir, atazanavir, and lopinavir.
4. Fusion inhibitors: These drugs prevent the virus from entering healthy cells. They work by blocking the fusion of the virus with the cell
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