HIV therapy usually involves more than just 1 drug to try and decrease the amount of the virus in your body, called viral load. There is no cure for the human immunodeficiency virus but there are effective drug treatments that can slow its progression and the threat of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). You may be prescribed Descovy to add to your drug regimen to help reduce this virus at a few different stages.
Both Emtricitabine and Tenofovir Alafenamide are called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Emtricitabine blocks the reverse transcriptase, an HIV enzyme. This action will prevent the virus from being able to multiply. Tenofovir Alafenamide works the same, except it is a prodrug. This means it enters your body as Tenofovir but is converted in your body to Tenofovir Alafenamide Fumarate (TAF). This change shows an improved antiviral efficacy and helps to stop the virus from being able to insert their viral genetic material into one of your own cells and make new viruses.
The human immunodeficiency virus is much like a brain without a body. It must take another cell so it can make more viruses. When exposed to HIV, the virus prefers to target your T4-lymphocyte (or T-helper cells). This is a type of white blood cell that is part of your immune systems ‘warning signal’. Once the cell is taken over, the virus uses the reverse transcriptase enzyme to change their viral RNA to DNA so these cells can replicate and make more viruses. As the viral load increases, you start to notice the symptoms of a fever, fatigue, sore throat, and swollen lymph glands. The sooner you seek treatment, the better chance you will have of not progressing to AIDS.
Breast feeding can pass HIV onto your nursing baby so you must only bottle feed formula. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or may become pregnant. Disclose to your doctor other medical conditions and any drug allergies you have and provide a list of current over the counter and Rx drug you take or use, including herbal and vitamin supplements. This helps you doctor determine if Descovy is right for your situation. Descovy will not prevent you from becoming infected from the HIV virus so other precautions need to be taken to avoid exposure to this virus if you are sexually active or use IV drugs and share needles or other items that may have body fluids on them, including toothbrushes and razors.
You may begin to experience new/different symptoms after taking Descovy. This could be due to a stronger immune system that is now fighting infections you were unaware of while dealing with HIV. See your doctor and explain the symptoms. You will be undergoing regular blood and urine testing to make certain your kidneys are functioning properly and to check your viral load. All medications should be kept out of children’s reach and never share meds with anyone else. Descovy is taken once a day with or without food and is only part of your HIV therapy.
Regular visits to your doctor are strongly recommended as some serious side effects include lactic acidosis, kidney problems, and sever liver problems.