The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Share Your Stories
My First Pill: Starting HIV Treatment for the First Time

About This Series: Whether it was AZT or Atripla, the 1980s or the 2010s, a person living with HIV who is on treatment always remembers his or her first pill. And we want to hear about it! Did you deal with side effects? Were you hesitant to begin treatment? Did you have to do some tinkering to find the regimen that was just right for you? Write out your story (between 200 and 1,000 words, please!) or film a YouTube video, and email it to Read user-submitted stories that are part of this series below!

By Jason Q
For me, my first pills were psychologically challenging. I did not believe that these pills would save me. because I am somewhat against taking prescription drugs when at all possible.
Read Article
By John Poole
Before taking my first pill, I had mentally defeated myself into believing that I was just delaying the inevitable. After hours of fighting I managed to take my medicine.
Read Article
By Sleepless in Brazil
I was diagnosed in late 2008. As an active member of an online forum on HIV/AIDS in Brazil, as well as a biomedical researcher, I knew all of the meds and possible side effects.
Read Article
By Anonymous
Looking back now, after almost two years on treatment, I feel a little disappointed with myself. Should I really have started medication so quickly? Am I playing into the hands of big pharma?
Read Article
By Marcel Gil
The last time it had snowed in Johannesburg was June 1981. I joked with my specialist that Mother Nature was giving me something pretty to watch as I got my first prescription.
Read Article
By Ron Carpenter
My first pill was Atripla and I took it Feb. 18, 2008. I was still afraid to start treatment, but I had no choice but to do so as I had a hepatitis B coinfection with a viral load of over a billion.
Read Article
By Mike Hellman
I'll never forget my first pill, because of my own fears and I saw what it had done to my partner those so many years ago. I have to admit now that without AZT I would not be here today.
Read Article
By Alexander
I had some nightmares that night, but I am not sure if it was because of the Atripla or just because I was so scared. The next day nothing happened to me and since then Atripla does not give me any side effects at all, except once in a while I have some vivid dreams.
Read Article
By Charles D. Klemm
I knew the medication had to be strong to combat HIV, but I was wondering if I'd be able to live my life or if I was destined to be bedridden.
Read Article
By Bob Doyle
He said I should start AZT because I had just 236 T cells. But I had friends who started AZT and they had terrible side effects. Instead, I waited and watched my T cells drift down.
Read Article
By Nombeko Cynthia Mpongo
I started the pills exactly at 19h00 when SABC Zulu news started. It was the exact same date I got HIV in my body in a brutal gang rape.
Read Article
By Joseph P
Every night for 3 nights I tried to take the pill. I would open the bottle and stare at it or hold it in my hand. My dinner would get cold and I wouldn't eat.
Read Article
By Marco Benjamin
The past seven years, I did not have to take a pill every day that acted as a daily reminder that there is a virus inside of me. I found myself coping with my status once again.
Read Article
By Aaron Laxton
Starting on ARVs wasn't an option. From all the research I had done, I knew that the quicker that I started medications, the better chance I would have to remain healthy.
Read Article

Image credit: Domino, Hector Toscano. 2013. See more art by Hector Toscano at his Visual AIDS page.

Copyright © 2014 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

See Also
More Personal Accounts Concerning HIV Treatment

The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our advertising policy.