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HIV infection: Combination antiretroviral therapy

By Rosy Weston, MRPharmS, and Brett Marett, DipClinPharm, MRPharmS

Pill burdenSince the advent of combination antiretroviral therapy in the mid-1990s HIV-infected individuals are now living longer with improved quality of life. Medication adherence is vital for successful treatment



The diagnosed HIV population in the UK is living longer, developing significant comorbidities and accessing more healthcare services. Combination antiretroviral therapy (CART) is the cornerstone of HIV treatment and is essential to prevent disease progression and the development of opportunistic infections.

Surrogate markers are used to monitor response to CART, along with clinical symptoms and side effects. CART changes are often needed to avoid toxicity and to overcome virological and immunological failure. Treatment-experienced patients have complex treatment needs and should be managed with expert advice. Management of drug interactions is critical to ensure adequate drug levels and avoidance of drug toxicity. Future strategies are focusing on reducing treatment toxicity, HIV prevention and other immune therapies.

Rosy Weston is senior lead pharmacist, HIV and sexual health, and Brett Marett is lead pharmacist, HIV and sexual health, both at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.


Citation: Clinical Pharmacist URI: 10980718

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