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AIDS Testing

After AIDS testing, if you tested positive, you will need additional information on AIDS and HIV. Below is information on the most commonly used drugs in the treatment of AIDS and HIV.

PLEASE NOTE: The following information on drugs is not to be considered a total compilation of all the different types of approved and experimental drugs available for AIDS - HIV treatment. This listing only represents the most commonly used drugs and is categorized for easier use. Also, these drugs are listed as common treatments and therapies, and are provided strictly for your general information. Since each individual person displays a completely different set of signs and symptoms, the therapies and medications will vary accordingly. Your doctor is the best source for information with regard to medications that are most suitable for each individual AIDS patient.

Treatment of
HIV Virus
Treatment of
Other drugs used to
treat various
Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (AZT, ddI, ddC, D4T) Antifungals (Clotrimazole, Ketoconazole, Fluconazole, Nystatin, Amphotericin B, Pentamidine, Atavaquone) Antidiarrheals (Octreotide, Loperamide)
Antivirals (Acyclovir, Ganciclovir, Foscarnet, Amantadine) Protein Synthesis Inhibitors (Clarithromycin, Azithromycin) Appetite Stimulators (Dronibol, Megestrol Acetate)
  TB Treatment (Isoniazid, Rifampin, Ethambutol, Rifabutin) Others (Folinic Acid)
  Antimicrobials (TMP/SMX, Sulfadiazine, Primaquine, Amikacin)  
  Antineoplastics (Vinblastine)  
  Quinolones ( Ciprofloxin, Enoxin, Lomefloxacin, and Norfloxacin )  

At this time, AIDS cannot be cured. Only symptomatic treatment is available for the infections and other complications caused by HIV infection.

Drugs used in the treatment of HIV virus

Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors

Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors attack the HIV Virus by interfering in the HIV's DNA, thus preventing the virus from reproducing.

Zidovudine (AZT)

Description: This drug is used and usually started in the early stages of HIV. It is used in patients who have a CD4 count of 500 or below. It initially was administered once a patient was diagnosed as HIV positive, but recent evidence suggests that it may be better to wait until the CD4 count is 500 or below because antiretrovirals tend to lose effectiveness over time. This is due to the HIV viruses' ability to mutate and no longer be affected by the drug.
Uses: HIV and Toxoplasmosis
Side Effects: Nausea, headaches, neutropenia, myalgias, muscle wasting and weakness, and myopathy after long-term use.

Didanosine (ddI, Videx)

Description: Also used in the treatment of HIV, with a similar mode of action as that of AZT.
Uses: HIV
Side Effects: Painful neuropathy especially in the feet, diarrhea, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and rash.

Zalcitabine (ddC, HIVid)

Description: Also attacks the HIV virus and has been shown to be more effective when used in combination with Ziduvidine.
Uses: HIV
Side Effects: Painful peripheral neuropathy especially in the feet, bone marrow suppression, and pancreas.

Stavudine (D4T, Zerit)

Description: Approved in 1994 for people with advanced stages of HIV infection who are intolerant to other antiretrovirals.
Uses: HIV
Side Effects: Painful peripheral neuropathy is the most common side effect of D4T.

Drugs Used in the Treatment of Opportunistic Infections


Clotrimazole troches

Description: Applied topically, with minimal side effects.
Uses: Oral Thrush.


Description: Impairs the synthesis of ergosterol, an important step in the synthesis of the cell wall of the fungus. This makes the fungus unable to reproduce.
Uses: Thrush
Side Effects: Diarrhea, dizziness, rash, liver necrosis, gynocomastia, and breast pain.

Fluconazole (Diflucan)

Description: Inhibits an important enzyme in the fungal cell wall, thus damaging it.
Uses: Cryptococcosis, Candidiasis, and Candidal Thrush.
Side Effects: Nausea, vomiting, headache, and rash.


Description: Disrupts the fungal cell wall.
Uses: Intestinal Candidia and Thrush. Side Effects: Very few side effects; relatively safe.

Amphotericin B

Description: Disrupts the fungal cell wall; has the most serious side effects.
Uses: Systemic fungal infections, fungal meningitis. Used in Cryptococcosis.
Side Effects: Nausea, headache, fever, chills, thrombophlebitis, liver toxicity, cardiotoxicity, and anemia.


Description: It is unknown how it works.
Uses: Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia PCP Side Effects: If administered by inhalation, side effects are minimal. If given IV, hypotension may result.


Description: Unknown for treating Pneumocystis.
Uses: Used in patients who cannot tolerate TMP/SMX or Dapsone.
Side Effects: Fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and rash.

Protein Synthesis Inhibitors

Clarithromycin (Biaxin)

Description: Inhibits binding of proteins responsible for making proteins in bacteria.
Uses: Mycobacterium Avium Intracellulare (MAC)
Side Effects: Upset stomach.


Description: Same as Clarithromycin.
Uses: It is used like Clarithromycin, for Mycobacterium Avium-Intercellulare Complex (MAC)
Side Effects: Upset stomach.

AIDS testing

Drugs Used in the Treatment of Tuberculosis


Description: Prevents the formation of the cell wall of mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB)
Uses: Treatment of TB.
Side Effects: Peripheral neuropathy, hepatitis, liver toxicity.


Description: Stops bacteria from producing RNA.
Uses: TB and Mycobacterium Avium-Intercellulare Complex
Side Effects: Urine and sweat secretions, flu-like symptoms, and hepatitis (more common in alcoholics).


Description: Inhibits formation of cell wall
Uses: TB and Mycobacterium Avium-Intercellulare Complex (MAC)
Side Effects: Loss of central vision.


Description: Useful in Rifampin resistant strains of TB.
Uses: TB resistant therapy
Side Effects: Like Rifampin


Trimethoprim/Sulfamethoxazole (TMP/Sulfa, Bactrim, Septra)

Description: Inhibits synthesis of Pneumocystis.
Uses: Used to treat PCP and also used as prophalyxis against PCP.
Side Effects: Itching, rash, nausea, vomiting fever, thrombocytopenia, tremors, and kidney toxicity.


Description: Reduces lesions caused by toxoplasmosis
Uses: Toxoplasmosis used along with Pyrimethamine.
Side Effects: Anorexia, diarrhea, peripheral neuropathy, nausea, and thrombocytopenia.


Description: Mechanism unclear.
Uses: Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia along with Clindamycin.
Side Effects: Nausea and vomiting, bone marrow suppression.


Description: Interferes with mRNA synthesis of bacterial proteins
Uses: Mycobacterium Avium-Intracellulare Complex (MAC)
Side Effects: Liver toxicity and ototoxicity.

Acyclovir (Zovirax)

Description: Incorporates into viral DNA and ceases production of virus
Uses: Herpes Simplex, Variclla-Zoster Virus, Epstein-Barr Virus, and Oral Hairy Leukoplakia.
Side Effects: Diarrhea, headache, nausea and vomiting.



Description: Inhibits DNA production in cells
Uses: Treatment of Kaposi's Sacoma
Side Effects: Oral lesions, and bone marrow suppression.

Quinolones Ciprofloxin, Enoxin, Lomefloxacin, and Norfloxacin

Description: Interfere with DNA synthesis
Uses: Treatment of Mycobacterium-Avium-Intracellulare (MAC).
Side Effects: Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and photosensitivity.

Other Drugs Used to Treat Various Conditions Due To HIV Infection



Description: Antidiarrheal given by injection
Uses: Used in patients with excessive diarrhea
Side Effects: Abdominal cramping and pain, nausea and vomiting, and loose stools.

Loperamide (Imodium)

Description: Antidiarrheal
Uses: Diarrhea, less severe, and can be taken orally
Side Effects: Abdominal pain, dry mouth.

Miscellaneous Drugs

Folinic Acid (Leucovorin)

Description: Used in conjunction with drugs that deplete folic acid
Uses: Keeps folic acid drugs from causing toxic effects. Used in Toxoplasmosis.
Side Effects: Allergic sensitization

Appetite Stimulators

Dronibol (Marinol)

Description: Synthetic marijuana, used to stimulate appetite
Uses: Used in patients who are experiencing the wasting syndrome, and to treat excessive nausea and vomiting.
Side Effects: Mental status changes, dizziness, headache, and drowsiness.

Megesterol Acetate (Megace)

Description: Progesterone derivative
Uses: Appetite Stimulant
Side Effects: Headache, nausea and vomiting, back and abdominal pain, and breast tenderness.




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