HIV-infected PatientsINTRODUCTION

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The retrovirus and the infection itself are known as HIV. The term AIDS is used to describe the later stages of HIV infection.

HIV utilizes ribonucleic acid (RNA) for cellular replication and protein synthesis instead of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the customary substance for viral replication. HIV interferes with the body’s ability to fend off viruses, bacteria, and fungi that cause disease by damaging or destroying the cells of the immune system. The virus multiplies in the lymph nodes and slowly begins to destroy the helper T cells (CD4 lymphocytes). This deterioration in the white blood cells, which coordinate the activities of the entire immune system, makes the patient more susceptible to opportunistic infections that the body would normally resist.
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HIV accounts for approximately 40,000 new infections annually in the U.S. HIV/AIDS is a worldwide epidemic; an estimated 37.8 million people are currently living with HIV/AIDS. Of that number, approximately 850,000 to 950,000 U.S. residents are living with HIV; 180,000 to 280,000 of these persons do not know that they are infected.

Because of the continuing rise in HIV cases, researchers are continuing to develop strategies for preventing infection, with an emphasis on testing; to identify infected persons; and to ensure access to appropriate medical care.

On August 2, 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Gilead’s fixed-dose combination drug (Truvada), composed of emtricitabine (Emtriva®) and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Viread®). Truvada is indicated for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in adults and for use with other anti-retroviral agents such as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) and protease inhibitors (PIs).

Both Viread® and Emtriva® are already available and have been studied individually. They exhibit inhibitory activity against HIV-1 reverse transcrip-tase and have been found to be safe and effective. Therefore, their resistance profiles, efficacy, and safety as part of multi-drug regimens have been extrapolated to support the use of Truvada.