Drug therapy for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) usually involves more than a single medication. This is to try and kill the virus at different stages as well as reduce the chance of the virus mutating and becoming drug resistant to any of the three or four types of antiviral medications you are taking. Your doctor may recommend Reyataz as part of your treatment if you have HIV.
Reyataz or generic Atazanavir is known as a protease inhibitor. Although there is no cure for the human immunodeficiency virus, there are many drugs that can help to reduce your viral load and delay the progression to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) for many years. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
HIV is so efficient that its protein strings are compacted as one continuous string that will eventually need to be cut into smaller pieces. Protease is the enzyme that HIV enlists to do the cutting. The virus then uses the new HIV particles that allow cells to make replicas of themselves. Each new cell will make another cell with the viral DNA in it and carry on until you begin to notice the symptoms of HIV. By taking Reyataz, the protein strings cannot be sectioned off because the protein-cutting enzymes are blocked. Reyataz does not kill HIV, but it stops new viruses from replicating which will help decrease the amount of virus in your body.
When infected by HIV, the virus must find a host cell in order to make copies of itself. T-4 lymphocyte or T-helper cells are the target due to the protein on their surface called CD4 that HIV can bind to and hide its own DNA inside. As cells make new proteins to stay alive and reproduce itself, when an infected cell attempts to do this, it is actually making a new virus. This action is repeated time and again and you may notice your lymph nodes are swollen, you are fatigued, there’s unexplained weight loss, and diarrhea. Don’t wait for more symptoms to appear; see your doctor right away as early detection is the best way to keep viral numbers low and AIDS decades down the road.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast feeding before taking Reyataz so the risks and benefits can be explained to you. Discuss other medical conditions or allergies you have and list any OTC or Rx medications you currently take or use, including herbal remedies and dietary or vitamin supplements. Your doctor can then determine if Reyataz is right for you.
Do not stop any current drugs or start a new one without talking to your doctor first as this could cause interference with your HIV treatment. Taking Reyataz or other HIV medications will not stop you from transmitting this virus to others so caution must be taken in regards to your body fluids, including semen, saliva, and blood or sharing needles or syringes. Keep all medications out of children’s reach and never share meds with anyone else.