Purpose of review: We aim to review the strengths and weaknesses of current antiretroviral therapy (ART), and describe ongoing research to address limitations to current therapy.
Recent findings: Current ART is highly effective and well tolerated. As a result of a decrease in medication side-effects and pill burden, and the known health effects of uncontrolled viremia, ART is now recommended at all CD4 cell counts in the USA. Novel medications are being developed to further decrease side-effects and offer alternative options for patients with multiclass resistance. New combination pills will further decrease pill burden.
Summary: Current treatment for HIV is characterized by highly potent oral antiretroviral medications, which are well tolerated, resulting in outstanding rates of virologic suppression in patients who are adherent to therapy. Despite the marked improvement in therapeutic options, limitations to therapy still exist including reliance on daily adherence, long-term toxicity of medications, drug-drug interactions, long-term effects of HIV even in the setting of viral suppression, high lifetime cost of treatment, and limited options for some patients with multiclass resistance. Emerging alternative treatment strategies include nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-sparing or limiting regimens and long-acting injectable combination therapy.