Factor #4: Your Mental Health
HIV medications, even if taken only once a day, require consistency and stability. Mood disorders that cause fluctuations in motivation or unpredictable behavior can be a great concern. I have had clients with Bipolar Disorder who stopped taking their mood stabilizers during manic phases and soon stopped taking their HIV medications as well.
Depression can be equally debilitating if one loses interest in self-care, including HIV therapy. Others find that taking HIV medications is a disturbing daily reminder of their status. This can be greatly alleviated by identifying and expressing the strong feelings that emerge after an HIV diagnosis and trying to look at taking HIV medications not as a burden, but as one more empowering activity we do to suppress the virus. Managing mental health is a critical component of managing HIV.