Brenda Chambers, Salt Lake City, Utah; Diagnosed in 2003
Make sure you're working with a provider who has experience with HIV and the side effects of the meds. It is important to know what you are getting yourself into because adherence is so very important. If you don't think you can live with a side effect such as vivid dreams from Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin), which is a component of a popular med called Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), then let your doctor know. Research what side effects come with each medication, but get some suggestions of first-line medications from either your doctor or a pharmacist. Only you know what you will allow and what would make you skip medications, which is NOT an option.
Don't be scared, because they are your life-giving and life-sustaining medications. NO MATTER WHAT, DO NOT STOP TAKING YOUR MEDS, even if you want to, without talking to your doctor first. If you go on and off your meds or just stop taking them, the virus goes crazy in your body and can hurt your chances with other medications in that class of drug.
Be kind to yourself; give yourself a reward for each week you take all your meds on time. Remember that you are a unique person, but those feelings you have are not so unique. We all go through it when we start meds, so talk to people who have HIV and have taken meds. Many of them will tell you that it isn't nearly as bad as it used to be. Take care and be well!