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When It Comes to HIV Treatment Success, More Pills, More Problems

By Mathew Rodriguez

February 4, 2014

How many pills do you take every day to treat your HIV? That number might have a significant impact on the success of your regimen. According to a new study published in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases, having to take fewer pills daily significantly increases rates of adherence to HIV treatment and gives people better virological outcomes -- basically, lower viral loads. The authors of the study said:

Higher pill burden was associated with both lower adherence and worse virologic suppression in both twice-daily and once-daily subgroups. In addition, adherence was higher with once-daily ART [antiretroviral therapy] regimens than with twice-daily regimens. ... However, this difference was minimal and did not translate into better treatment outcomes.

The evolution of antiretrovirals is long and complicated, but with three once-a-day, single-pill regimens -- Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), Complera (rilpivirine/tenofovir/FTC) and Stribild (elvitegravir/cobicistat/FTC/tenofovir) -- now available, medications causing fewer side effects than before and simplified dosing schedules, HIV medications are making adherence easier than ever.

However, adherence can still be an issue for some people. If you are having troubles with adherence, please visit's Resource Center on Keeping Up With Your HIV Meds.

To read the full study summarized in this article, please visit the site for Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Mathew Rodriguez is the editorial project manager for and

Follow Mathew on Twitter: @mathewrodriguez.

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