Since opportunistic infections are common in HIV patients, several drugs and therapies are used to prevent or treat opportunistic infections and other AIDS- related conditions. Some of the drugs used to treat opportunistic infections are as follows:
Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia:
People who develop this lung infection are generally treated with TMP/SMX (a combination of antibiotic drugs) or pentamidine. Doctors also prescribe these medications as preventive therapy for adult patients whose CD4+ T cell counts fall below 200.
Yeast infections in women:
Physicians often prescribe a drug called fluconazole to treat yeast and other fungal infections. Fluconazole also can safely prevent vaginal and esophageal candidiasis without development of drug resistance.
Pelvic inflammatory disease:
PID is treated with antibiotics. Women with mild cases may be treated on an outpatient basis. HIV-positive pregnant women suspected of having PID are usually hospitalized, treated with intravenous antibiotics approved for use during pregnancy, and monitored closely.
Megestrol acetate (Megace) is often prescribed for HIV-associated wasting, but it can cause significant irregular vaginal bleeding in women. Another drug, nandrolone, may not have these side effects and is currently undergoing drug trials.
Kaposi’s sarcoma and other cancers:
Cancers are treated with radiation, chemotherapy, or injections of alpha interferon, a genetically engineered, naturally occurring protein.
Improvements in anti-HIV treatments as well as preventive and therapeutic approaches to managing CMV have resulted in a decreased incidence of CMV retinitis. Today, the incidence of CMV retinitis is about one quarter what it was previous to the introduction of HAART. While early CMV retinitis therapies were delivered intravenously, current treatments include medications in pill form for all stages of CMV retinitis.