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Managing Drug Side Effects

By Tim Horn and David Pieribone


Table of Contents


Drugs used to treat HIV and AIDS can be a double-edged sword. While they may do a good job of controlling HIV and treating AIDS-related diseases, they also come with problems of their own: side effects.

Let's face it. Side effects are hard to avoid and can make life difficult. In fact, side effects are one of the main reasons why people living with HIV start missing doses of their medications or stop taking their drugs completely. This may lead to resistance and, ultimately, drug failure. Yet many side effects can often be controlled.

This handbook has been produced by the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA) to help you better understand the different side effects that are associated with the drugs prescribed for HIV-positive people and the ways that you can deal with them. With this information, we hope that you will talk with your doctor about the side effects you're experiencing and, if possible, look into ways to prevent or treat them.

This handbook has been divided into four sections. The first section explains how to use the information in this booklet. The second section provides basic information about side effects and how to make sense of standard treatments and complementary therapies to manage them. The third section is a reference of the most common side effects experienced by people taking drugs to treat HIV and AIDS and discusses some of the most popular ways to deal with them. It is intended to serve as a reference guide and does not necessarily need to be read in its entirety. The fourth section of this handbook is a glossary containing some of the medical terms used in this handbook and other publications. This section will be useful if you want to learn about a medical term or while talking to your doctor about side effects.

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