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Side Effects of HIV Drugs

June 11, 2014

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Other Possible Side Effects

Taking HIV drugs can also affect your heart and bone health. For more information, see The Well Project's articles, Caring for your Heart and Bone Disease.

In addition to the side effects listed above, you can find more information on other possible side effects in the Health and Medical Issues section of our website.


Side Effects or Toxicities During Pregnancy

The majority of studies have shown that taking HIV drugs during pregnancy does not increase the risk of birth defects. However, there are certain HIV drugs that should not be used by pregnant women because of potential problems for the mother or the baby.

HIV+ women should not take Zerit and Videx at the same time if they are pregnant. Some pregnant women who took these drugs together developed lactic acidosis, which resulted in deaths.

If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, speak to your health care provider about all of your medications to be sure there are no specific warnings for pregnant women. The good news is there are several HIV drugs that are safe to take during pregnancy. If taken as directed, these HIV drugs can make the chances that you will pass HIV on to your baby very low (less than one in 50).

Taking Care of Yourself

HIV drugs help many people live longer, healthier lives. Side effects are an important factor in determining who stays on their HIV drugs. While the term "side effects" may make them sound like they are not a big problem, if they are getting in the way of your taking your HIV drugs, they may get in the way of your good health. If you are having trouble sticking to your HIV drug regimen because of problems with side effects, speak to your health care provider before skipping, reducing, or stopping your drugs. There is usually something that can be done about it, such as changing the dose of that drug, switching to another drug, or finding ways to treat or manage the side effect directly.

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This article was provided by The Well Project. Visit The Well Project's Web site to learn more about their resources and initiatives for women living with HIV. The Well Project shares its content with to ensure all people have access to the highest quality treatment information available. The Well Project receives no advertising revenue from or the advertisers on this site. No advertiser on this site has any editorial input into The Well Project's content.
See Also
Side Effect Chart: An Abbreviated, At-a-Glance Guide to HIV Drug Side Effects
More on HIV Medication Side Effects

Reader Comments:

Comment by: will (florida) Mon., Apr. 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm EDT
There seems to be no information on side effects of HIV drugs for those who have been on them many years. I have developed, abnormal lipids, CKD, heart disease (1 heart attack), fatty liver, gall stones, and lipo dystrophy. Now after 26 years on many meds, I develop toxicity and am forced to stop my meds ever couple of months. This is the down side to powerful, DNA/RNA altering drugs that nobody wants to discuss or recognize.
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