Treatment training manual

3. 3 What is ART?

ART stands for antiretroviral treatment (ART).

This involves a combination of ARVs. HIV meds are called antiretroviral because HIV is a retrovirus.

There are a few other names for ART.

  • Combination therapy.
  • ARV therapy.
  • Triple therapy.
  • cART (combination ART) – now rarely used.
  • HAART (highly active ART) – now no longer used.

ART often involves only one pill a day. But each pill usually includes three or four drugs.

So missing one pill also means you are missing all these drugs. This is why adherence is so important.

A few combinations only include two drugs. This is because integrase inhibitors are very potent. Integrase inhibitors are the latest type of HIV medicine.

* These two-drug ART can only be used once viral load is undetectable.

Other two-drug ART are being developed. For more details see this annual review of the HIV drug pipeline.

Last updated: 1 January 2023.