HIV Drug Resistance and Resistance Testing
How Can Drug Resistance Be Avoided?
There are a number of steps that HIV-positive people can take to prevent -- or at least slow down -- the development of resistance:
Learn as much as possible about anti-HIV drugs. The more people with HIV know, the easier it will be to make treatment choices that can help avoid drug resistance.
Start treatment with a powerful anti-HIV regimen. The first antiretroviral drug regimen an HIV-positive person takes may be their best chance to fully suppress the virus and prevent the development of drug resistance.
Be sure to follow instructions. As discussed in "What Are Some of the Factors That Contribute to the Accumulation of Drug-Resistance Mutations During Therapy?", it is very important that HIV-positive people take their antiretroviral medication exactly as prescribed. Missing doses, not taking the right number of pills, or eating when pills need to be taken on an empty stomach, can all cause viral load to increase and cause drug-resistance mutations to develop.
Good communication with a healthcare provider. HIV-positive people should understand their doctor's instructions on how antiretroviral medication should be taken. Asking questions and reporting any problems to a healthcare provider are important for avoiding drug resistance.
Regular viral load testing matters. An increasing viral load is often the first sign that drug resistance is developing. Monitoring viral load regularly is a good way to guard against drug resistance.
This article was provided by AIDS Community Research Initiative of America. Visit ACRIA's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.