Adherence to HIV Drug Regimens
Despite the many demands in women's lives, numerous studies have found that women are just as likely to adhere to HIV regimens as men, especially when women have longstanding and trusting relationships with their health care providers.
Even though it may be embarrassing, it is important to tell your health care provider about the number of times you have missed doses or did not take your HIV drugs correctly. He or she may suggest a change in your dosing schedule or drug regimen that makes it easier. Newer HIV drugs require fewer pills per day and have fewer food restrictions. There are also new ways to combine older drugs that make them easier to take.
Adherence is hard work and takes a lot of commitment. It helps to have other people on your side. One way to do this is to put together a support network. Your health care provider is one of the most important people in your network. Talk openly with him or her about how to fit HIV treatment into your lifestyle.
There are many other sources of information and support available to women who are taking or thinking about taking HIV drugs. If you can, include family, friends, case managers, treatment educators, and counselors in your network. You can also get involved with your local ASO or a support group. These are places where you will be able to ask questions, get good tips, and share experiences with others who understand what it is like to live with HIV. When you are feeling discouraged, turn to your network for support and encouragement.
Also, try to remember the big picture. It can be hard to take pills every day, but easier when you know why you are doing it. You want to be adherent to give your HIV drugs the best chance of working to keep you healthy. This will allow you to focus on the things you care about -- including the important people in your life like your children, partners, family, and friends.
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.
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