HIV treatment

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Medication used to treat HIV is commonly called treatment.  Or antiretrovirals (ARVs), antiretroviral therapy (ART), combination antitretroviral therapy (cART), highly active antitretroviral therapy (HAART) or meds. 

The aim of HIV treatment is to reduce the amount of HIV in your blood to undetectable levels, and to maintain those undetectable levels.  Controlling HIV in this way with treatment allows your immune system to return to optimal functioning.

HIV treatment has advanced considerably in recent years giving people with HIV have more advanced treatment options than ever.   In Australia, today, HIV is no longer a terminal illness and is instead now considered a chronic manageable health condition. 

Many experts believe that with access to care and the timely commencement of HIV treatment, someone diagnosed with HIV today can expect to enjoy good health and a normal life expectancy.  

Recent years have given more insights into a wider range of benefits of HIV treatment including early treatment, Treatment as Prevention (TasP) and a number of individual health benefits of HIV treatment. 

NAPWHA’s continued work in HIV treatment 

The National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) asserts that all people with HIV deserve the highest possible standard of care and treatment.  NAPWHA works with pharmaceutical companies, educators, clinicians and government to ensure that people living with HIV in Australia have access to the best treatments and information possible. 

The NAPWHA Treataware Project actively represents the interests of PLHIV in many ways including the development of educational materials, facilitation of the Treataware Outreach Network (TON) and hosting the popular Treatments Information Roadshows and Chin Wag events throughout Australia.


When to start

Opinion has long been divided over when to start treatment for HIV. Now there is no doubt: t he START study findings released in 2015 provide clear, unequivocal evidence of the value of starting treatment as soon as possible — ideally, upon diagnosis. Starting treament early significantly lowers...

Side effects, resistance and adherence

Today's HIV treatment regimens are much simpler, more effective and kinder than they used to be. However, some people still encounter side effects particularly at the beginning. Some of these may be serious but most pass and others can be managed. With the number of treatment options available, it'...

HIV treatment database

This database displays antiretroviral treatments available for the treatment of HIV in Australia. You can follow the links to find out more about the treatments and combination pills listed. Whilst...

Drug classes

HIV treatments are grouped by class according to the stage of the HIV life cycle that they block. Firstly, we have the entry inhibitor – a class of antiretroviral that prevents HIV from entering the CD4 cell. Second up, we have the reverse transcriptase inhibitor which inhibits the enzymes that...