Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
  
  • Email Email
  • Comments Comments
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

HIV Treatment Guidelines

August 2013

 < Prev  |  1  |  2  |  3 


Changing or Stopping Treatment

After starting HIV treatment, you may need to make some changes in your regimen. Reasons for this include:

  • Side effects -- In some cases, your health care provider can treat side effects without switching your HIV drugs. If the side effects cannot be controlled or are very serious, your health care provider may be able to find the drug in your regimen that is causing the problem and switch that drug for another drug. In other cases, especially if it is not clear which drug is causing the problem, the entire regimen may need to be changed.
  • Viral load not controlled -- If your viral load does not come down or starts increasing, it may be time for a change. In this case, your health care provider will check for drug resistance and may change two or three medications at once.
  • Simplifying the regimen -- There may be new formulations or combination pills you can take so you have fewer pills or fewer doses.
  • Trouble with adherence -- If you miss doses of your medications, you can develop resistance to the drugs and they will stop working. Before changing to new medications, talk with your health care provider about adherence. If you have problems sticking to your medication schedule, your health care provider can help you figure out ways to stay on track or find an easier regimen for you to take.
  • Some people want to stop taking their HIV drugs altogether, but stopping or skipping treatment can be very bad for your health. It usually causes an increase in viral load and a drop in CD4 cells. Once HIV treatment is begun, it should not be stopped without speaking to your health care provider.


Resistance Testing

Drug resistance tests can tell if your virus is resistant to any HIV medications. This will help you and your health care provider choose the most effective drugs for you to take. The following are the guidelines' recommendations on when to have a drug resistance test:

  • Testing is recommended for

    • People who have just become infected with HIV, whether or not they are going to take HIV drugs right away
    • People who have never been on HIV drugs and are planning to start
    • People who are on HIV drugs and see their viral load go up
    • People who have recently started HIV drugs and their viral load is not coming down enough
    • HIV+ pregnant women
  • Testing is not usually recommended for

    • People who have stopped HIV drugs for four weeks or more
  • The February 2013 guidelines now recommend that people whose viral loads are not well controlled using an Integrase-based drug combination should receive a genotypic tropism test for Integrase resistance. This will help determine if any other drugs from the Integrase class should be included in future drug combinations.


Taking Care of Yourself

There is much more information in the guidelines, including other possible drug regimens, what drugs not to take, and what types of resistance tests to use. There is also a wealth of information on other aspects of HIV care and treatment, including adherence, drug side effects and interactions, special considerations for people with liver or kidney problems, treatment when you have HIV and either tuberculosis or HBV, and salvage therapy (treatment for people who have used and are resistant to many HIV drugs). For HIV+ women, the guidelines contain important information on pregnancy and women-specific treatment issues.

The guidelines are a set of recommendations to help you and your health care provider understand your treatment choices. They are based on the most up-to-date information from studies and clinical trials. But, remember, they are only general suggestions. It is okay for you to choose therapies for your specific situation. Use the guidelines as a resource to help you make well-informed treatment decisions that are right for you.

 < Prev  |  1  |  2  |  3 


  
  • Email Email
  • Comments Comments
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

This article was provided by The Well Project. Visit The Well Project's Web site to learn more about their resources and initiatives for women living with HIV. The Well Project shares its content with TheBody.com to ensure all people have access to the highest quality treatment information available. The Well Project receives no advertising revenue from TheBody.com or the advertisers on this site. No advertiser on this site has any editorial input into The Well Project's content.
 
See Also
Read the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in HIV-1-Infected Adults and Adolescents (PDF)
More News and Analysis on HIV Treatment Guidelines
Advertisement:
Find out how a Walgreens specially trained pharmacist can help you

No comments have been made.
 

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read TheBody.com's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:


Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:

Tools
 

Advertisement