What are Protease Inhibitors (PIs)?
When HIV infects a CD4 cell in a person's body, it copies its own genetic code into the cell's DNA. The CD4 cell is then "programmed" to make new HIV genetic material and HIV proteins. The proteins must be cut up by the HIV protease—a protein-cutting enzyme—to make functional new HIV particles. PIs block the protease enzyme and prevent the cell from producing new viruses. It is recommended that they be used in combination with at least two other HIV drugs to treat HIV infection.
To learn more on how HIV infects a CD4 cell and begins to create more viruses, and where each class of anti-HIV drugs blocks this process, click on the following lesson link:
The HIV Life Cycle (and the targets of each class of anti-HIV drugs)