The HIV Life Cycle
September 22, 2015
What Is the Connection Between the HIV Life Cycle and HIV Medicines?
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the use of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection. HIV medicines protect the immune system by blocking HIV at different stages of the HIV life cycle.
HIV medicines are grouped into different drug classes according to how they fight HIV. Each class of drugs attacks HIV at a different stage of the HIV life cycle.
People on ART take a combination of HIV medicines from at least two different HIV drug classes every day. Because HIV medicines in different drug classes block HIV at different stages of the HIV life cycle, ART is very effective at preventing HIV from multiplying. Having less HIV in the body protects the immune system and prevents HIV from advancing to AIDS. ART also reduces the risk of HIV drug resistance.
ART can't cure HIV, but HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV.
What Are the Seven Stages of the HIV Life Cycle?
The seven stages of the HIV life cycle are: 1) binding, 2) fusion, 3) reverse transcription, 4) integration, 5) replication, 6) assembly, and 7) budding. To understand each stage in the HIV life cycle, it helps to first imagine what HIV looks like.
How Can I Learn More About the Hiv Life Cycle?
Read information from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) on how HIV causes AIDS. This fact sheet is based on this information.
This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.