HIV 101: fundamentals of antiretroviral therapy.

Academic Article


  • Antiretroviral therapy (ART) should be started as soon as possible after HIV diagnosis. Recommended starting ART regimens in patients with any baseline viral load include ictegravir plus tenofovir alafenamide (TAF)/emtricitabine (FTC), dolutegravir (DTG) plus abacavir/lamivudine, DTG plus TAF (or TDF)/FTC, or DTG plus 3TC. Initial laboratory evaluation includes CD4+ cell count, plasma HIV-1 RNA, and testing for HIV reverse transcriptase and protease resistance mutations. ART regimens do not need to be altered for virologic blips due to release of virus from chronically latently infected cells in patients otherwise exhibiting viral suppression. Patients with continuously undetectable viral load on ART pose virtually no risk of transmitting infection through sexual contact. This article is based on a case-based presentation by Michael S. Saag, MD, at the 2018 Clinical Conference at the National Ryan White Conference on HIV Care & Treatment in December 2018 and intended for clinicians who are new to HIV disease management.
  • Published In


  • Adenine, Adult, Anti-HIV Agents, Anti-Retroviral Agents, Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active, CD4 Lymphocyte Count, Dideoxynucleosides, Drug Combinations, Drug Therapy, Combination, Emtricitabine, Female, HIV Infections, HIV Reverse Transcriptase, HIV-1, Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring, Humans, Integrase Inhibitors, Lamivudine, Life Cycle Stages, Male, Middle Aged, Mutation, RNA, Viral, Tenofovir, Viral Load
  • Author List

  • Saag MS
  • Start Page

  • 123
  • End Page

  • 127
  • Volume

  • 27
  • Issue

  • 3