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Emtriva is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, or NRTI that is one of the antiviral drugs prescribed for treating individuals with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in adults and children. Usually your doctor will prescribe a combination of drugs, including Emtriva (Emtricitabine) so the HIV-1 virus is attacked on several levels during the different stages of the virus to produce a better outcome.
The idea of prescribing several medications to lower the amount of HIV in your blood (viral load) is that the combination makes it less likely that the virus can become resistant to them all. Sometimes the prescription meds you take are designed to attack the virus at different stages of its development.
When taken as directed, Emtriva will help block a particular enzyme in your body called reverse transcriptase. The HIV-1 virus needs this enzyme in order to make new viruses so Emtriva can be important for lowering your viral load, which is the amount of HIV-1 in your blood. This does not remove the virus completely, but may help increase your T cell count so your immune system is stronger and can help fight off other infections.
Your body is equipped with a highly efficient defense system that can fight off an army of outside threats. Your T cells, also known as CD4 cells, are your body’s first line of defense against bacteria and viruses. These become alerted when a threat has been detected and your immune response is launched into attack mode. The HIV-1 virus invades the white blood cells in order to make new viruses and with a lower white blood cell count, your immune system’s ability to fight off other infections is reduced.
There is no cure for HIV but there are effective treatments for lowering your chances of it becoming AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) and you are able to live a productive life for many years. You must still be vigilant about not exposing others to this virus through infected blood, contaminated needles, sexual intercourse, or during childbirth and nursing a baby.
Make certain your doctor is aware of other HIV drugs you are taking and list any Rx and OTC meds you are on that are not for this viral infection, including vitamin supplements and homeopathic remedies. Discuss other conditions you have before taking Emtriva and if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are nursing a baby.
It’s important to maintain a consistent level of HIV medication in your system so call for refills in advance to avoid the risk of running out. Keep all meds out of children’s reach and do not share them with anyone, even if are also infected with HIV.
As your immune system improves, your body may be strong enough to fight off infections that have taken a back seat to HIV and are now coming to light. Speak to your doctor if you experience symptoms other than those caused by HIV.