Antiretroviral therapy of HIV infection has changed a uniformly fatal into a potentially chronic disease. There are now 17 drugs in common use for HIV treatment. Patients who can access and adhere to combination therapy should be able to achieve durable, potentially lifelong suppression of HIV replication. Despite the unquestioned success of antiretroviral therapy, limitations persist. Treatment success needs strict lifelong drug adherence. Although the widely used drugs are generally well tolerated, most have some short-term toxic effects and all have the potential for both known and unknown long-term toxic effects. Drug and administration costs limit treatment in resource-poor regions, and are a growing concern even in resource rich settings. Finally, complete or near complete control of viral replication does not fully restore health. Long-term treated patients who are on an otherwise effective regimen often show persistent immune dysfunction and have higher than expected risk for various non-AIDS-related complications, including heart, bone, liver, kidney, and neurocognitive diseases.
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