It is widely believed that HIV was started in the Republic of Congo where the virus jumped from chimpanzees to humans. From there the spread went global and was initially discovered among homosexual men. It was so taboo that initially AIDS was called GRID or gay-related immune deficiency. Most infected patients did not die of AIDS but rather of other infections that attacked the immune system such as pneumonia and sarcoma. Imagine the fear from healthcare workers over this infection. It wasn’t until the CDC identified all major routes of transmission and ruled out transmission by casual contact, food, water, air or surfaces. They identified needle use, blood transmissions, open sores and sexual contact as the primary routes of infection.
Science Develops Treatments Like Tenofovir
Once the cause of AIDS was found in the retrovirus HIV, research took over to study the disease and come up with the cure. First there was AZT (zidovudine), then came the blood test for quick detection, followed by more drugs similar to AZT. You can add the development of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI), non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI), integrase inhibitors (INSTI) and protease inhibitors (PI). The results were mixed individually with all of these drugs but when used in certain combinations, they actually worked well together. The magic formula seemed to be 2 NRTIs, 1 NNRTI and a PI or INSTI. This cocktail of drugs is used today to prolong the lives of those living with HIV.
Tenofovir and Side Effects
Tenofovir is an NRTI and used as part of a combo drug. Our bodies contain all the genetic information in our bodies in our DNA strands located in the nucleus of each cell. These are the propriety formulas and templates that makes us who we are. HIV is an RNA virus in which its genetic information is contained in itself. This virus can’t integrate itself into the DNA. It has to convert its RNA to DNA and infect the
cell and is performed by a viral protein which makes it a selective target for inhibition. NRTIs are chain terminators that prevent other nucleosides from being incorporated into DNA. Other drugs that perform a similar function are abacavir (ABC), lamivudine (3TC) and emtricitabine (Emtriva). Studies have found that both tenofovir alone and the emtricitabine tenofovir (Truvada) combination decreased the risk of contracting HIV.
Tenofovir has a bonus function which helps treat chronic hepatitis B due to the similar function the hep B virus has to HIV. This drug is not perfect. In order to administer it orally, it have to be modified so your stomach can tolerate it. So some common names will be Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate or Viread.Considering what the alternative is, the side effects seem not as serious. They include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting abdominal pain, flatulence, muscle weakness and hepatotoxicity. Some of the more serious side effects include acute renal failure, renal toxicity, Fanconi syndrome, proteinuria (excess serum protein in the urine) and the death of tubular epithelial cells that form the renal tubules. Basically it affects your kidneys if left unchecked.
Which combination drugs are you using?