Top 11 Things That Affect Your HIV Treatment
1. Keep Treatment Under Control
HIV medicines can keep you healthy and help you live a longer life. They can also prevent the virus from spreading to your sexual partners. But be careful – some things make it difficult for the treatment to work. Know the best way to take your medication to get the most out of it.
2. Skipping Volumes
HIV drugs work by reducing how fast the virus can make copies of itself in your body. If you exceed your dose, that gives HIV a chance to increase its numbers. The more copies it makes, the more likely the virus is to develop into a drug-resistant strain, which means that it will no longer work.
3. Cross Resistance
Once the virus changes to your HIV-resistant form, it can become resistant to other types of HIV drugs, too, even if you have never taken it before. That is called cross-resistance. Another reason why it is not a good idea to skip doses – it can give you a few effective treatment options.
4. Other Medicines
Some of the medicines you take can hurt your HIV status. These include prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, herbs, and nutritional supplements. They can make your treatment stop working, or a combination of drugs can give you new side effects. Tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking, even if they are just vitamins. And don’t start taking something without asking them if it will affect your HIV treatment.
5. What You Eat And When
Some HIV drugs easily get into your bloodstream if you take pills on an empty stomach. Some work best if you take them with you. Your doctor will help you fix what it is. Also, ask them if there are any foods you should avoid. Some, like grapefruit juice, can interfere with your HIV medication.
6. Drinking Alcohol And Rising
Your liver helps your body get rid of waste products from HIV. Excessive amounts of alcohol can damage the organ and prevent it from working properly. When you share injecting drugs, you increase your chances of developing hepatitis, another condition that damages your liver. Drunkenness or overdose can also make it difficult for you to take your medication correctly.
7. Side effects
HIV medications can cause other problems, such as diarrhea, nausea, headaches, aches, and pains. If they are bad enough, they may make you reluctant to take your medication. But you do not have to live with the consequences. Your doctor can help you find ways to control it so that it does not bother you too much. So don’t just stop taking your medicine – ask for help instead.
8. Pill Fatigue
You may be tired of taking the pills every day, especially if you have been taking them for a long time. This is called “pill fatigue” or “medical fatigue.” Your doctor can help you find a way to take your medication so that it becomes a habit and you do not feel like such a job. Also, if you are taking several HIV pills each day, ask your doctor if your type of medication can be simplified. That way you can take a few pills each day. A new injectable drug that is a combination of cabotegravir and rilpivirine (Cabenuva) may provide an opportunity to avoid the pills altogether.
9. Your Mental Health
Depression, depression, other mental illnesses, and the stigma attached to HIV can make it difficult for you to adhere to treatment. Psychotherapy and support can give you relief, which will help you to manage your HIV, too. Ask your doctor about medications, treatments, and other resources that may be helpful.
10. Find Out More At Your Clinics
One of the best ways to ensure that HIV drugs work properly is to stick to your treatment regimen. Take your pills at the same time every day. You can set an alarm to remind you, or pair it with another part of your lifestyle, such as brushing your teeth or making coffee. Use a pillbox to help you track your doses. Keep extra pills in case you are not there when it is time to take your medication. If there are things that make it difficult to take your medication, such as worrying about paying for it or using alcohol or drugs, talk to your doctor.
11. Importance of HIV Testing
If you have the virus, finding out quickly means you can start treatment right away so you can feel better and live a long, full life. You can also take steps so you don’t pass HIV to other people.
Pregnant women should get tested because early treatment means you probably won’t pass it to your baby.
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