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first (and most controversial} antiviral medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use by people with AIDS. Antiviral drugs can be difficult for patients to take because of their enormous expense, powerful side effects, demanding scheduling requirements, and large dosages.

Resistance can be delayed by taking these drugs in combination. Many studies have shown that by taking one protease inhibitor with two nucleoside analogs-a combination of therapies called highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART-it may be possible to reduce the rate of HIV replication in the body to significantly low levels for a long period of time. As a result, HIV has a more difficult time trying to mutate itself into a resistant strain. More importantly, researchers have found that by significantly decreasing the amount of viral replication for a long period of time-a feat only possible with HAART-disease progression can be slowed dramatically.