- The following table can be used as an aid for
decision-making on treatment options. It is intended as a tool for
discussing treatment strategies with your doctor or health-care providers,
and not for self-medication. Tables such as these are always changing as
new information comes in, and this one is no different. This table might be
outdated or in need of revision very soon, although it can always serve as
a reference point.
- When you and your doctor (or health-care
providers) are considering whether or not you should start (or change) your
combination therapy, the following aspects should be taken into
- your T-cell count;
- your viral
load (the amount of virus in your blood);Advertisement
- whether or not you
have HIV disease symptoms;
- whether or not you are
"ready" to start treatment;
- which combination is
the one right for you;
- your prior experience with anti-HIV medications.
table lists medications on their own,
although no one should be taking just one anti-HIV medication any longer,
regardless of T-cell count or viral load. Anti-HIV medications stop working
rather quickly when they are not used in combinations (in combinations of
at least two, perhaps three, sometimes even four).
- There are so
many possibilities in terms of combination therapies that it would take
pages and pages to list them all, so you can see this table as something
that can help you to make decisions with your doctor or health-care
- You are better off with a doctor or health-care provider
who has a lot of experience treating people living with HIV. Since there
are so many combinations available, it is almost impossible to know enough
about all of them, especially when it comes to issues related to efficacy,
interactions among different medications, side-effect control, etc.
Also if you decide to "go on combination," you need to stick to
it. Once you start it, you need to be consistent and come up with a plan of
how to incorporate those medications in your life.
- If you take your
anti-HIV medications consistently and follow closely the instructions on
how to take each one of them, there is a good chance that your medications
will remain effective over a long period of time (the length of time will
vary from person to person). Consistency is the goal.
you and your health-care provider choose a treatment regimen, line up a
second treatment option as well. Your first option might not work for you
initially or might cease to work in the future, so be prepared.
Drugs might fail for any of the following reasons:
unacceptable side-effects or discomfort;
it is too difficult to
incorporate those medications in your daily routine;
problems: your body eliminates much of the
medication, so that there is
not enough to fight off HIV;
the virus becomes resistant to the
medications: it "learns" how "to get around" your
- Your second treatment option
should have at least two new drugs or, ideally, all new ones, because no
single drug should be added to a failing therapy (that is the equivalent of
taking the new drug on its own).
This article was provided by Body Positive
. It is a part of the publication Body Positive.