HIV: treatment and medication

Here you can read about HIV medication, the possible side effects and the meaning of therapy compliance.

HIV medication

The most common HIV treatment consists of 1 or 2 pills, taken once a day. Most pills contain 3 different drugs which is why this therapy is called combination therapy: it is a combination of different anti-HIV drugs.

When your treatment with HIV medication is successful the amount of virus in your blood (viral load) will decrease. After six months at most the viral load can no longer be measured and has become undetectable. This means that the virus can no longer be found in your blood, even with the most sophisticated equipment. Your immune system will recover and it is almost impossible to pass HIV on to others.

Side effects

In the last years the medication against HIV has improved considerably and fortunately causes fewer side effects. When you first start using anti-HIV medicines your internist and HIV specialist nurse will check very carefully how your body responds and whether you get any side effects. This is called monitoring of the HIV medication. Side effects that may occur could be: nausea, skin problems and anaemia.

Therapy compliance

picture gloria HIV medication

It is very important that you take your medication every day at around the same time. This is called therapy compliance: you take your medication conscientiously, on time, every day. As a result the amount of medication in your body will remain constant and will keep the HIV virus under control. And the risk of resistance is minimized. Resistance means that your body no longer responds to the medication; the medication becomes ineffective.

Your HIV specialist nurse can help you to facilitate your medication use. You can discuss this with him or her.