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10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Begin HIV Treatment


starting line

2. Am I ready?

The list of reasons for starting treatment earlier than later only gets longer as the supporting data keeps rolling in. But that doesn't mean it's obvious when you should start. The biggest variable in sustained treatment success is you: the person who will have to take meds the right way, every day, indefinitely.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: The kid (Baltimore) Wed., Dec. 14, 2016 at 12:47 am UTC
All the reading I did about HIV prior to becoming infected had me well prepared to answer and act on 90% of these questions! I got medicated ASAP! I chose the 3 pill, once a day regimen because I knew it would be way to maintain (now I'm on 1 daily pill). My goal was to get undetectable ASAP and I achieved that five months after beginning medication,9 months after the initial diagnosis and roughly 11 months after initial exposure. It'll be 4 years this June and 3 of those years will have been with an unstable viral load.
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Comment by: Zeddie (Goshen NY) Sat., May. 14, 2016 at 3:24 pm UTC
ONE condom costs 220% LESS than on dose of an retroviral. Just saying ....
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Comment by: david brathwaite-hill (nyc new york) Thu., Oct. 1, 2015 at 6:38 pm UTC
why is it that all of these center around big pharm? I am "on treatment" but not big pharm. I am all natural, and am doing great and so is my husband. Still both below 19,000 viral load. Do not want to jump on drugs. Do not make those of us that would prefer to do natural and believe that life is what you make of it, feel less
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Comment by: Richard Macleod (Sarsota Florida) Wed., Sep. 16, 2015 at 12:51 pm UTC
I have been living with AIDs for 21 years with a good regiment ! How would this help me ?
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Comment by: Nick (Denver CO) Fri., Aug. 28, 2015 at 5:57 am UTC
I have been undetectable for six years. I am now on triumeq. I have zero side effects. I started on treatment immediately when I found out because I felt it wasn't fair to any partners to not be treated. I was never truly "sick". You owe it to yourself and any partners to be as healthy as possible. To think otherwise is foolish and selfish!
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Comment by: robin (Glen Cove, NY) Sat., Apr. 4, 2015 at 4:01 pm UTC
i have had hiv or 24 yrs.only started meds 5yrs ago because of useing hep c drugs to protect my t-cells and viral statement is simpley this HOW DARE ANYONE COMPLAIN about side effects or anything should have been around in the beginging of this epidemic.You should have seen what meds did to them greatful for the meds and stop wineing about it.Your alive when many have died.yes it can have side efects but they only last a few point of this message is SHUT UP AND BE GRATEFULL AND TAKE YOUR MEDS.
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Comment by: Gerri D Klein (Long Beach, NY) Thu., Sep. 3, 2015 at 10:05 pm UTC
I totally agree with you. My husband became ill in 1992. He had zero T-cells. The only drug around was AZT which did nothing. He was on many experimental meds that had to be taken several times a day. One was a total of 16 pills. He could not tolerate the meds. I lost him in 1994. Hard to believe it is more than 21 years ago.

Comment by: Natalie Wright (Bronx, New York) Wed., Feb. 26, 2014 at 3:44 pm UTC
Where can get free treatment for my hiv?
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Comment by: Lovetta Sonwabeh (phonxie) Tue., Feb. 18, 2014 at 10:11 am UTC
Can infusions give you HIV?
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Comment by: nkosi (empangeni) Wed., Feb. 12, 2014 at 9:12 am UTC
im happy to been in this page for a moment iget what ineed for hiv en aids
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Comment by: cyprian onsongo (nyanza) Thu., Feb. 6, 2014 at 7:15 am UTC
For good work you are doing i like to join yours welcome Kenya.
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Comment by: Jeri (Little Rock, Arkansas) Wed., Nov. 13, 2013 at 10:14 pm UTC
I was undetected what does that mean?
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Comment by: okEY (NAMIBIA) Wed., Nov. 6, 2013 at 7:08 am UTC
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Comment by: anita (565southampton dr) Fri., Oct. 4, 2013 at 7:08 pm UTC
need ok
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Comment by: Anonymous Thu., Oct. 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm UTC
Omg this thing is killing people lollo knows it all
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Comment by: barei khwathisi (ikageng) Thu., Oct. 3, 2013 at 8:44 am UTC
we should never as people whom don't have the hiv/aids virus discriminate those whom have it as human beings we should love and care for one another we should all be passionate about everything which happens in the world we should teach the new generations about this dangerous diseases.
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Comment by: CINDY WASHINGTON Tue., Oct. 1, 2013 at 11:13 am UTC
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Comment by: Betty Alger (Waynesboro,VA) Thu., Sep. 26, 2013 at 10:03 pm UTC
comment will be public, and may even show
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Comment by: Nina Pereira (HIV/AIDS Program) Sat., Sep. 7, 2013 at 11:56 pm UTC
I Like read and lake kapacity building abaout HIV/AIDs but very impotanf for self & anyting for youg...
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Comment by: mike (ngong road) Thu., Sep. 5, 2013 at 4:53 am UTC
am a peer educator and wanted to learn more from this site
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Comment by: Botrus Gatuor Deng Nyaah (JUBA) Mon., Aug. 19, 2013 at 9:04 am UTC
many poeple are get dead with HIV no any treatment well in south sudan city juba
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Comment by: Botrus Gatuor Deng Nyaah (JUBA) Mon., Aug. 19, 2013 at 9:00 am UTC
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Comment by: Peace (PORT HARCOURT) Tue., Aug. 6, 2013 at 2:11 pm UTC
I have been confirm HIV positive but my Fiancee said he is negative, is it possible because he is the only one i have. I also contacted two men from Edo State here in Nigeria who said they can cure HIV can it be true, Please help.
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Comment by: Anonymous (Africa ) Mon., Jul. 29, 2013 at 5:59 pm UTC
I really didn't take notice of my nails darkening since I started using arvs in 2007 until last year. This is causing me a lot of anxiety. Is there need for me to worry?
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Comment by: lucy (south africa) Tue., Jul. 16, 2013 at 12:21 am UTC
I'm hiv positive about 8yrs I'm in treatment I charge my treatment I think third time I have side effect it think it doent like me I've got thin legs big tummy I'm shapeless I can't even wear dress coz I'm shy to show my legs plz help
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Comment by: adam k (malawi,africa) Fri., Jul. 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm UTC
when taking the treatment for the first time just convince yourself and know that you are doing for yourself and for the loved ones
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Comment by: Mary (UK) Mon., Jul. 1, 2013 at 3:37 am UTC
Hello, I'm very interested whatis your policy in the case that an HIV case is working in the health service. Is HIV positive status a barrier for this case to offer this service.
Thank you in advance.
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Comment by: Kbee (South Africa) Fri., Jun. 28, 2013 at 9:14 am UTC
I was diagnosed with HIV in April 2011 n I started ARVs September 2011 bcoz my CD4 was getting low. I now healthy, my cd4 is gud n my viral load is gud also. bt bad news is I jst find-out that I'm 8weeks pregnant, I'm so stressed. Bt my doctor promised dat the baby will be safe coz I'm not weak anymore is this possible? Coz I can't do an arbortion no no no
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Comment by: Cays (Ghana) Fri., Jul. 5, 2013 at 6:46 pm UTC
Glad to hear abortion is out. Your baby will definitely be fine. Just take ur meds regularly n stay healthy n u'll be ok.

Comment by: bre (arkansas) Wed., Jun. 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm UTC
what do it look like?
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Comment by: james nyamu (embu kenya) Mon., Jun. 17, 2013 at 3:47 am UTC
this is to encourange you who have tested H.I.V positive and have not accepted their new medical status.i tested H.I.V positive in 1996 when here in kenya there was no medication to carter H.I.V infected persons and rejection and death was the order of the seek treatment and you health will be restored with art it works for real.
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Comment by: gordon k. (uganda) Sun., Jun. 23, 2013 at 9:32 am UTC
thanks embu for that encouraging message of positive living aim working in health sector in Uganda and those that have accepted and received early treatment for HIV have improved greatly.than those in denial

Comment by: Saeed (VgJUnltxQAuL) Fri., Jun. 14, 2013 at 9:45 am UTC
Matt: Keep the news flowing on the team here in Providence a felieng they will be more important this year supplying players to Boston with the cap era we are now in.What do you think of the idea of a hockey doubleheader? For an appetizer, an AHL game with Providence and say Lowell or Hartford and then and then the NHL game between the parent teams (Bos vs New Jersey or NY Rangers get the idea.) Didn't Philly do that last year? I think it was in the pre-season but I think that would be a great idea. Are the Jacobs listening? Sounds like a a nice treat for both teams season ticket holders .call it a hockey stimulus .2 games for the price of one!!!How about in season updates on our draft picks .guys in college or juniors to see what they're up to.More video links too.Thanks .keep up the good work. Hockey season can't start soon enough!
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Comment by: MOSES (QUEBEC) Sat., Jun. 8, 2013 at 2:10 am UTC
i was diagnosed with HIV in 1992. I believe that I contracted the virus earlier than that. Ever since I have relied on the use of known plants which provide helpful phyto chemicals from time to time. I have always visited the lab to have my CD4 monitored. My CD4 has always been going down but for the past years the CD4 has been almost constant thus 398 .I feel very strong as I always engange mysel in simple exercises like walking 4km every morning. I have never taken any antiretro vial but I still feel healthy and strong.
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Comment by: mateka (uganda) Sun., Jun. 23, 2013 at 9:38 am UTC
its great that the cd4 are are costantly however it important to take prophylaxis of an upcoming opputunistic infections and do regular cd4 every after 6month

Comment by: Claret (Nigeria) Fri., Jun. 7, 2013 at 4:07 pm UTC
I had sex 2 times witout protection nd both ad precum witout me gettin i av swollen mouth and rashes al over my body even on my head.does that mean that i am HIV POSITIVE.AM just dad has d swollen rashes whenever his sugar is high and i urinate a lot dis days.does it av anytin 2 do wit sugar and not HIV
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Comment by: etownerin (Idaho) Sat., Jun. 15, 2013 at 10:13 pm UTC
You could be diabetic not HIV the best way to know is to get tested

Comment by: dmo8654 (new york) Wed., Jun. 5, 2013 at 11:52 pm UTC
I just wonder why is it taking so long to find a cure or is it that researchers don't want to? I was diagnosed in feb and couldn't believe im on meds now and feel ok in the beginning I must admit I felt drugged but now I over passed that stage been on meds for about one month and few weeks andbim able to tolerated it numbers when up and only side effect is that I create alot of anxiety.
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Comment by: Steve F (Cleveland, OH) Thu., May. 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm UTC
"It helps clarify what your main motivation will be to take your HIV medications day after day." Uhh, how about to not die from AIDS? That motivation would work for me if I was ever in that situation.
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Comment by: Joto (New England) Mon., May. 27, 2013 at 11:48 pm UTC
I find the premise of this "article" absolutely asinine! The only way that HIV/AIDS will be eradicated is if those infected treat the virus and become non-infectious. The idea that people with HIV should whimsically decide when to start their treatment is irresponsible.
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Comment by: Allapat (Raleigh,NC) Sun., May. 26, 2013 at 1:19 am UTC
I was diagnosed in 1992 I've been on meds ever since. I've never had an oppertunisic infection.
My CD4 was as low 12 and now it hasn't dropped below a 1000 in over 10 yrs. I'm very adherent to my meds. You have to be with this kind of illness.
This is something that you have to stay on top of with your docs and know as much as possible. You can still lead a meaningful and productive life with this as long as you stay in control. Find some support outlets, friends, family, even clergy... Find out who's going to be there for you when you need them. Embrace them, as for the others that are still ignorant to this. They will fall by the wayside..... Knowledge is power!!!
I went through all the stages of denial many yrs ago. If you want to live you fight. Meds are so much better now than when I was diagnosed. AZT was really wicked, and had hellacious side effects to it, not to mention taking almost 20 pills a day. Luckily I don't have to take that many anymore. To all the people out there that have this, may you have inner peace, and the strength to keep moving forward. This is a life changing manageable chronic illness. There are a lot worse conditions out there. Stay Strong and try to live a healthy and productive life!!
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Comment by: Ken (Indiana) Thu., May. 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm UTC
#11. Can you afford it? Even with insurance-the cost can be staggering. In the 22 years I have been positive I have had to file bankruptcy twice and also lost my home.
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Comment by: Froggy (Rocky Mountains) Sun., May. 12, 2013 at 7:17 am UTC
Now just one question. What is the longest anybody has lived with no treatment ? A CD 4 count ranging from an absolute 4 and up to 12 ? I was told that with my counts something would kill me soon. I needed treatments.
I refused and have not taken them. That was in 97. Today my count is 12 and I am alive and well.
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Comment by: Ben (Albania) Tue., May. 14, 2013 at 9:09 am UTC
Good for you! Medications should be left for last. If u feel good and you CD4 count is fine, why should you start! I do prefer the medications, once i dropped to 250 and my dr. told me to start but i refused and started to take better care of myself and the next test was 475. O_o
This medications stuff is all business.
Comment by: Jean Bosco Bosoko Botokeyande (South Africa) Wed., May. 22, 2013 at 5:40 pm UTC
Hi Froggy,
as a medical doctor treating people with Hiv infection, i always illustrate the following picture for them to realize the urgency of treatment.I tell them to imagine an attractive house without windows and doors but full of important furnitures, ampliances, food stuffs,etc.How long will it survive without thieves, criminals or street dwellers invading it? That's what HIV does to you; it exposes your body to all sorts of invaders: viral, bacterial, and fungal infections which will speed up death. ARV treatment restores your house's doors and windows. Take good care.
Comment by: Forest jack (Jackson ms) Thu., May. 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm UTC
U are bless praise god

Comment by: Anonymous Fri., May. 10, 2013 at 11:39 pm UTC
I don't think I'll ever be in the right mind set with taking HIV meds. I was diagnosed on 7-3-12 and I started meds because I was told and I had side effects up until last month. I've switched Drs who have switched my meds but I haven't started them. I probably won't go back on meds until my CD4 drops. Since I've been off my meds I feel a lot better.
I'm not good taking meds, I wasn't a fan of always popping pills.
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Comment by: Just Me (South Florida) Thu., May. 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm UTC
I was diagnosed 4-23-11, and immediately went on meds within two weeks. I wanted every part to slow down the progression. I live a very active life, so I make it a habit to take my meds with every dinner. Its programmed now that that is when I take my tablets, and in doing so, I have never missed a dose.
Comment by: Angel (harare) Thu., Jun. 13, 2013 at 8:40 am UTC
Taking HIV meds and adhering to it is the best method of fighting HIV. the side effects will resolve with time it is better to have one medical doctor to help u monitor the virus and your immune system. waiting for the cd4 to drop down is not such a good idea as you will be exposed to all kinds of bacteria. you can fight this you only need to be strong and love life
Comment by: Cays (Ghana ) Fri., Jul. 5, 2013 at 7:02 pm UTC
Stick to one Dr who'll always be familiar with u. Meds together with healthier lifestyle is the best way to manage this condition. The side-effects are normal with the meds n will disappear after some time. Just the meds n it'll soon be a part of u.
Comment by: joy (las vegas) Sat., Jul. 27, 2013 at 3:14 am UTC
you stop your med waiting for your cd4 cell to drop .wrong choice the rest of your body ware down so please take med.

Comment by: Chicie (FlkVOFoKkgYj) Wed., Mar. 6, 2013 at 10:22 pm UTC
Odd that a gay-oriented blog like AdvanceIndiana has had absolutely nhitong to say about the controversies swirling around ENDA.Of course, it should be noted that all four Hoosier Republican Congressmen are adamantly opposed to any form of ENDA whatsoever - no L, no G, no B and especially above all: no T!
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Comment by: Greg (Melbourne Australia) Tue., Aug. 23, 2011 at 11:34 pm UTC
This was a seriously awesome article, :)
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