There are a wide range of HIV antiretroviral treatments (ART) that can be used to control HIV in your body. They suppress the HIV virus from replicating, which also protects your immune system from damage.
While there is no set rule on when to start ART it is recommended you start as soon as possible. Starting ART means making a lifelong decision to take your medication regularly as prescribed by your doctor (s100 prescriber). You’ll need to consider fitting your ART medication into your lifestyle. People use a range of strategies to ensure they maintain variety of other medications, like diabetes, heart disease or blood pressure, and these can also apply to HIV medication.
If you travel interstate or overseas for work, you will need to consider strategies to support your treatments regimen. Starting and stropping medication, or missing doses can put your health at serious risk, as the HIV virus can become resistant to irregular medication use.
When starting HIV treatment or changing HIV medication, some people experience side-effects. Not everyone gets side-effects and not everyone experiences the same side-effects. Diarrhoea, headaches and gastrointestinal upset are some of the more well-known side-effects, these are normally short term and reduce over time. It is recommended that any persistent, uncomfortable side-effects are discussed with your doctor (s100 prescriber) for advice on treatment options and the best way to manage side effects.
What do I need to know?
- There are a range of different HIV medications.
- The sooner you start taking HIV medication, the better your long term health will be.
- Beginning HIV medications means making a lifelong decision to take your medication regularly as prescribed by your doctor (s100 prescriber).