Antiretroviral Therapy

  • Todd Wagner


Antiretroviral therapy (ART) for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has improved significantly since the first successful therapeutic trial using AZT (zidovudine) in 1986. It has greatly reduced overall morbidity and mortality in individuals with HIV, and has reduced perinatal and behavior-associated transmission. In most patients who have access to these medications, treatment initiated before the onset of advanced immunodeficiency reduces plasma HIV RNA concentrations (“viral load”) to undetectable levels and results in robust and sustained gains in CD4 T-cell counts. Antiretroviral therapy is currently potent, convenient, and typically well tolerated. It is important for mental health care providers to be aware of the various antiretroviral medications that can be used to treat HIV because some may interact with various psychotropic medications and others may produce neuropsychiatric effects that must be distinguished from the symptoms of the underlying mental disorder.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Viral Load Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor Integrase Inhibitor 
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Suggested Reading

  1. Blashill, A. J., Perry, N., & Safren, S. A. (2011). Mental health: A focus on stress, coping, and mental illness as it relates to treatment retention, adherence, and other health outcomes. Current HIV/AIDS Report, 8, 215–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Department of Health and Human Services. (2011, October 14). Guidelines for the use of antiretroviral agents in HIV-1 infected adults and adolescents. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from
  3. Volberding, P. A., & Deeks, S. G. (2010). Antiretroviral therapy and management of HIV infection. Lancet, 376, 49–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Hospitals Case Medical CenterClevelandUSA

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