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Be Prepared
Treatment Guidelines

The U.S. has highly respected official guidelines on when the best time is for a person to start HIV meds, as well as what to start treatment with. They currently recommend:

First-Line Regimens

To learn more about each of the HIV meds that U.S. guidelines list as potential first-line drugs, browse this page or pick from the list below:


When to Start

  • CD4 count above 500: Starting is worth considering.
  • CD4 count between 350 and 500: Starting is recommended.
  • CD4 count below 350 (or if you've ever had an AIDS-defining illness): Start as soon as possible.

To learn more about the latest HIV/AIDS treatment guidelines, read this fact sheet or download the full (and very detailed) official document.

Key Resources
Personal Perspectives

Watch and read as HIV-positive people share their experiences with starting treatment.

Khafre AbifKhafre Abif: Be the Chair of Your Own Board
"I trusted myself, my God and my instincts to make the decisions I felt were best for me."

Maria T. MejiaMaria T. Mejia: My Story With Medication (Video)
"You shouldn't wait till your immune system is destroyed like mine was."

OrieVideo: First-Person Stories About People Starting HIV Treatment
Seven HIVers sit in front of the camera to talk candidly about their experiences on meds.


Tips and Advice

Adjusting to Life on HIV Treatment: Tips From Experts
Joel Gallant "Before you start, make sure you understand how your meds should be taken, the possible side effects, and how to contact your provider if you have problems." -- Joel Gallant, M.D.

Advice on Starting HIV Treatment From People Who've Been There
Philip D. "The day you swallow your 'little soldiers' for the first time, you may wonder if you'll ever feel the same again. ... You will feel even better, but it will take some time." -- Philip D.; Diagnosed in 2007





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