HIV treatment – today's reality of living with HIV

The continuous development of new and improved medical treatment, both for HIV and the illnesses associated with it, has led to major changes in the pattern of HIV disease progression which people in the UK, and in other countries where people have good access to HIV treatment and care, can expect to experience.

In the mid-1990s, effective HIV treatment that targets HIV itself became available. Use of a combination of antiretroviral drugs has been shown to prevent the weakening of the immune system by HIV. Antiretroviral therapy has also been shown to work for people with advanced HIV disease, including people with AIDS, and for many people anti-HIV drugs have brought about a remarkable recovery in health.

It's also worth noting that there have been further significant improvements in HIV treatment since the mid-1990s, with anti-HIV drugs becoming available that are more powerful, easier to take and less likely to cause problematic side-effects. As drugs have become available in fixed-dose combination pills, for many people living with HIV in the UK combination therapy now involves taking just one or two pills, once a day.

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this section.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.