HIV Treatment 101
October 27, 2016
HIV treatment today is worlds away from what it was even just a few years ago. Groundbreaking newer medications -- as well as older, proven medications -- are taken in combination, usually just once or twice daily, with few-to-no side effects. A number of HIV treatments on the market even contain several medications -- an entire day's regimen of HIV meds -- in just one pill, taken once a day.
Nonetheless, choosing HIV medications and thinking about starting treatment are big decisions. People who have just recently become HIV positive and are not on treatment may go 10 years or more without a single symptom. However, studies have now shown us that untreated HIV can slowly damage a person's body, even if their immune system is strong.
That's why the guidelines for HIV treatment in the U.S. and in other parts of the world recommend HIV treatment for all people living with HIV, even those with healthy immune systems. But people lead complicated lives and getting started on HIV treatment isn't equally easy for everyone. There is a lot to consider and discuss with your health care provider about starting HIV medications.
When you first visit an HIV care provider, they will take at least two blood tests:
Based on both your T-cell test and viral load test results, you and your provider will have a clearer picture of how HIV has progressed in your body.
When it comes to taking HIV medications, it's important to think about the question: "Is now the right time in your life to start?" Talk with a knowledgeable HIV care provider to ensure that, when you do start taking meds, it's for the right reasons, and you're ready to commit to taking your doses regularly as directed.
Once you decide to start treatment, the question becomes "What HIV meds should you take?" With more than 30 meds and numerous combinations to choose from, the options can seem overwhelming. But there are established guidelines and blood tests (such as drug resistance testing) that can help you and your health care provider determine the best choice for you.
Learn the basics about starting HIV treatment, and check out even more resources below:
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This article was provided by TheBody.
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