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Can Antibiotics Work for Viral Infections Like HIV?

Source: Pixabay Pexel

Using antibiotics for viral infections like HIV:

  • Won’t alleviate the sickness

  • It will not cure the virus

  • It will not stop its communicability

  • It will be a waste of money.

Yes, it's important to make the answer as direct as possible, not diplomacy here, to make it sound better. While you already know the answer to your question, it will be wise to understand its premise and why antibiotics can't just work in treating viral infections.

The first thing to consider when taking treatments (therapeutic or otherwise) is the nature of the cause of the illness itself. A virus causes the case of HIV. After acknowledging this fact, the next is to investigate possible substances that can cure the nature of that disease, in this case, antivirals.

When we contrast these two classes of medication (antibiotics and antivirals), it’s evident that antibiotics are designed to treat bacterial infections by either putting a halt to their reproduction or allowing the body's immune system to eliminate the pathogens, or killing them directly.

On the other hand, antivirals are developed to fight against harmful viruses. Unlike antibiotics that can directly attack the bacteria, antivirals only help the body fight off the harmful viruses, prevent infection, and can lower the risk of a patient spreading it to others. Also, it's important to understand that antivirals that prevent virus infections are further classified as vaccines and not exactly referred to as regular antibiotics.

Implications for Taking Antibiotics for Viral Infections

Not just for HIV, taking antibiotics for any viral disease or infection can cause more harm than good. At first guess, one might think that the dangers only involve overdose or avoidable side effects from the underlying drug. However, the story is far deep than you believe.

The real fear here comes from antibiotic resistance, a situation where the bacteria learns to fight back against the antibiotic drug, negating its healing effects on the human body. Inappropriate use of antibiotics will ultimately lead to antibiotic resistance, which means treating the illness becomes harder when the drug abuser is infected with the bacteria.

More so, more problem is created for the health sector as resistance infections are harder to treat and take longer to cure, resulting in a more expensive treatment procedure. Aside from directly affecting the underlying patient, pharmaceutical companies will spend more on developing working drugs for the illness. Perhaps this is the major reason why most pharmaceutical companies avoid producing antibiotics; instead, they focus on cures for chronic diseases.

Important Considerations before Using Antibiotics to Cure any Disease

In your attempt to use antibiotics to treat infections like HIV, you must understand the following;

  • Antibiotics do not kill viruses because viruses (HIV included) have a different structure and use a different model for replication than bacteria.

  • Antibiotics target the growth model of bacteria, not viruses.

  • It only takes common sense to understand that the differences in structures of both microorganisms make it impossible for antibiotics meant for bacteria to work on viruses.

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