Know the Facts
How HIV affects CD4 immune cells in your body.

How HIV affects your body

Your immune system has different kinds of cells that work together to fight infections. CD4 cells are one kind of immune cell. These CD4 cells help your body fight germs and infections.

HIV hurts your immune system by attacking the CD4 cells

  • The virus takes over the CD4 cell
  • The virus then uses the CD4 cell to make copies of itself, which kills the CD4 cell

Now, instead of the CD4 cell fighting infections, the HIV-infected cell makes more HIV in the body.

As HIV continues to take over the CD4 cells, there are fewer and fewer of those cells left to fight HIV. Eventually, your immune system is weakened. And your body is less able to fight infection.

HIV and AIDS

HIV and AIDS

If the number of healthy CD4 cells in your body continues to decline, you can develop a condition known as AIDS, which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

AIDS occurs when the number of CD4 cells in your body drops below a certain critical amount. When this happens, your body’s immune system is weakened and cannot fight back against other infections, called opportunistic infections. For some people it takes a long time for AIDS to develop; for others it takes less time.

If the number of healthy CD4 cells in your body continues to decline, you can develop a condition known as AIDS, which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

AIDS occurs when the number of CD4 cells in your body drops below a certain critical amount. When this happens, your body’s immune system is weakened and cannot fight back against other infections, called opportunistic infections. For some people it takes a long time for AIDS to develop; for others it takes less time.

How HIV is transmitted to others

You may have heard some incorrect facts about how HIV is passed from one person to another. If you have HIV, it’s very important to get these facts straight so that you can take steps to protect people who are close to you. 

If you have HIV, you can infect someone else with HIV by sharing certain bodily fluids. 

Bodily fluids that can infect others with HIV include:

  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Vaginal fluids
  • Breast milk

How bodily fluids are passed to other people:

  • Unprotected sex (oral, vaginal, or anal)
  • Sharing needles
  • Childbirth (from mother to child)
  • Breastfeeding

People do not become infected with HIV through:

  • Insect bites
  • Casual contact such as hugging
  • Shaking hands
  • Living with someone who has HIV

Kissing is usually okay, but it is safest to avoid open-mouth kissing.

References:
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basic Information about HIV and AIDS. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/whatishiv.html. Accessed November 1, 2014.
  2. AIDS.gov. What is HIV/AIDS? Available at: http://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/what-is-hiv-aids/. Accessed November 1, 2014.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Transmission Questions and Answers. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/transmission.html. Accessed November 1, 2014.

You and your doctor will set specific goals to make sure your HIV meds are working.

Learn more about these goals.

Use: KALETRA® (lopinavir/ritonavir)

What is KALETRA?

KALETRA® (lopinavir/ritonavir) is a prescription HIV-1 medicine that is used with other HIV medicines to treat HIV-1 (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection in adults and children 14 days of age and older. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). KALETRA is a type of HIV medicine called a protease inhibitor. KALETRA contains two medicines: lopinavir and ritonavir. It is not known if KALETRA is safe and effective in children under 14 days old.

KALETRA does not cure HIV infection or AIDS. People taking KALETRA may develop infections or other conditions associated with HIV infection, including opportunistic infections (for example, pneumonia and herpes virus infections).


Important Safety Information

What is the most important information I should know about KALETRA?

KALETRA may cause serious side effects, including:
Interactions with other medicines. It is important to know the medicines that should not be taken with KALETRA. For more information, see “Who should not take KALETRA?”

Changes in your heart rhythm and the electrical activity of your heart can occur when taking KALETRA. These changes can lead to serious heart problems. Your risk for these problems may be higher if you already have a history of abnormal heart rhythm or other types of heart disease, or if you take other medicines that can affect your heart rhythm while you take KALETRA. Tell your doctor right away if you experience dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, and/or a sensation of abnormal heartbeats.

Who should not take KALETRA?

Do not take KALETRA if you are allergic to KALETRA or any of its ingredients, including lopinavir or ritonavir. Skin rashes, some of them severe, can occur in people who take KALETRA. Tell your doctor if you had a rash when you took another medicine for HIV or if you notice any skin rash when you take KALETRA.

Do not take KALETRA if you take any of the following medicines: alfuzosin (Uroxatral®); cisapride (Propulsid®, Quicksolv®); ergot containing medicines, including ergotamine (Cafergot® and others), dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45® or Migranal®), and methylergonovine (Methergine®); lovastatin (Advicor®, Altoprev®, or Mevacor®); midazolam oral syrup; pimozide (Orap®); rifampin (Rifadin®, Rifamate®, Rifater®, or Rimactane®); sildenafil (Revatio®), when used for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension; simvastatin (Zocor®, Vytorin®, or Simcor®); products containing St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum); or triazolam (Halcion®).

Serious problems can happen if you or your child takes any of the medicines listed above with KALETRA.

What should I tell my doctor before taking KALETRA?

KALETRA may not be right for you. Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, including if you have any heart problems, including if you have a condition called congenital long QT syndrome; have or had pancreas problems, liver problems, including hepatitis B or hepatitis C, diabetes, hemophilia (people who take KALETRA may have increased bleeding), or low potassium in your blood; or are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

If you take KALETRA during pregnancy, you should talk with your doctor about how you can take part in an Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry.

Do not breastfeed, as it is not known if KALETRA can be passed to the baby through your breast milk and whether it could harm your baby. Also, mothers with HIV-1 should not breastfeed because HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in the breast milk.

Tell your doctor about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Many medicines interact with KALETRA. Do not start taking a new medicine without telling your doctor or pharmacist. Your doctor can tell you if it is safe to take KALETRA with other medicines. Your doctor may need to change the dose of other medicines while you take KALETRA. Tell your doctor right away if you are taking:

  • Estrogen-based contraceptives (birth control pills and patches). You should use a different type or an extra form of birth control, since birth control pills or patches may not work as well while you take KALETRA. Talk to your doctor about how to prevent pregnancy while taking KALETRA.
  • Medicines used for the treatment of erectile problems, such as avanafil (Stendra®), sildenafil (Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®), or vardenafil (Levitra®). There is an increased risk of certain problems when you take these medicines with KALETRA, such as low blood pressure (dizziness or fainting), vision changes, and/or erections lasting more than 4 hours. Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of these side effects.

KALETRA should not be taken once daily if you take carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Epitol®, Equetro®, Tegretol®), phenobarbital (Luminal®), phenytoin (Dilantin®, Phenytek®), efavirenz (Atripla®, Sustiva®), nevirapine (Viramune®), or nelfinavir (Viracept®).

KALETRA tablets should not be taken once daily if you are pregnant. You should not take KALETRA oral solution if you are pregnant.

KALETRA oral solution contains propylene glycol and a large amount of alcohol.

  • KALETRA oral solution should not be given to babies younger than 14 days of age unless your doctor thinks it is right for your baby. Babies taking KALETRA oral solution may have side effects. Call your doctor right away if your baby appears too sleepy or their breathing has changed.
  • Talk with your doctor if you take or plan to take metronidazole or disulfiram. You can have severe nausea and vomiting if you take these medicines with KALETRA.

This is not a complete list of medicines about which you should tell your doctor or pharmacist. For more information, refer to the KALETRA Medication Guide. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure what medicines you are taking. Know all the medicines that you take. Keep a list of them to show doctors and pharmacists when you get a new medicine. Do not start any new medicines while you are taking KALETRA without first talking with your doctor.

What are the possible side effects of KALETRA?

KALETRA can cause serious side effects:
KALETRA may not be right for you. Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions.

Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), which may be serious and cause death, has occurred in some people who take KALETRA. You have a higher chance of having pancreatitis if you have had it before. Tell your doctor if you have nausea, vomiting, and/or abdominal pain, as these may be signs of pancreatitis.

Liver problems, including death, can happen in people who take KALETRA. Your doctor should do blood tests before and during your treatment with KALETRA to check your liver function. Some people with liver disease, such as hepatitis B or C, who take KALETRA may have worsening liver disease. Tell your doctor right away if you have any of the following signs and symptoms: loss of appetite, yellowing of skin or eyes (jaundice), dark-colored urine, pale-colored stools, itchy skin, and/or stomach area (abdominal) pain.

New or more serious diabetes and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) have occurred in some people who take protease inhibitors, including KALETRA. Tell your doctor if you notice an increase in thirst or urinate often while taking KALETRA.

Changes in your immune system (Immune Reconstitution Syndrome) can happen when you start taking HIV medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Call your doctor right away if you start having new symptoms after starting your HIV medicine.

Large increases in certain fat (triglycerides and cholesterol) levels in the blood have occurred in some people receiving KALETRA. Your doctor should do blood tests to check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels before you start taking KALETRA and during your treatment.

Changes in body fat have been seen in some people who take anti-HIV therapy. The cause and long-term health effects of these conditions are not known at this time.

Increased bleeding has occurred in some people with hemophilia who take protease inhibitors, including KALETRA.

Common side effects of KALETRA include diarrhea, nausea, increased fats in blood (triglycerides or cholesterol), and vomiting. These are not all of the possible side effects of KALETRA.

This is the most important information to know about KALETRA. For more information, talk with your doctor.

Reference:
KALETRA [package insert]. 1697387-1790701