Although there is no cure for HIV, treatment options can help people living with HIV live longer and healthier lives by reducing their viral load. In addition, some of those treatment options can even be simple enough to fit into your routine.
When you are talking to your healthcare provider, it is important to let them know your experience with your current treatment and if it is meeting your personal needs. Especially when you are re-engaging in treatment. These conversations can help you find the right treatment for you.
You can start treatment as soon as your healthcare provider (HCP) recommends it. Some treatments can even be started the same day that you are diagnosed.
If you take HIV treatment now or plan to start soon, it’s important to understand HIV resistance.
What it is. How to avoid it. And how the HIV treatment you take may help fight against it.
Sometimes, HIV can mutate, or change.
Resistance is when HIV changes so much that your treatment may no longer work. In other words, the HIV in your body becomes resistant to the treatment you’re taking. And that is not good.
What you need is an effective HIV treatment by your side. One that can protect your health and help you live a longer life.
How does resistance happen?
Well, let’s take a look at HIV. It’s a virus with one goal.
All it wants to do is multiply. And it even uses your body’s own disease-fighting cells to make more HIV.
The amount of virus in your body—your viral load—goes up. And that’s something you don’t want. That’s why you want an HIV treatment that can stand up to the virus. There are many treatment options available. And most are made up of three different medicines. Which can even be in a single pill.
The medicines back each other up and help fight the virus in different ways. But it takes a steady level of medicine in your bloodstream for it to work.
Because HIV is still in your body. And it’s just waiting for a chance to get going again.
So, if your HIV treatment isn’t right for you, or you don’t take it the right way or if you stop taking HIV treatment, the level of medicines in your bloodstream can go down.
And that’s the chance HIV is waiting for.
When medicine levels are too low in your body, HIV can begin multiplying again. It can also get sneaky.
It can mutate.
Which means the virus can create whole new versions of itself.
Your HIV treatment is no longer effective against these new versions. That’s another way to say resistance. When HIV resists your treatment. It makes HIV harder to treat over time and limits your treatment options
That’s why it’s so important to start and stick with your HIV treatment, just as your healthcare provider prescribed.
So that the medicines in your treatment are always ready to fight back. And help keep the virus from getting sneaky.
How will you know? Your regular viral load test helps tell your healthcare provider if your HIV treatment is working. If your viral load doesn’t go down, or, if it goes back up suddenly, HIV resistance could be the cause.
So, stick with treatment and talk to your healthcare provider about anything that keeps you from taking your HIV treatment every day.
You can also ask about treatment options that can help protect you from resistance.
There is no cure for HIV, but you can take action to avoid resistance.
When your treatment works the right way, you’re fighting HIV and protecting your health.
And there’s one more thing.
You can help ... stop the virus.
HIV is a virus that can mutate or change. Some mutations that develop can lead to drug resistance. Once HIV drug resistance develops, medicines that previously controlled your HIV viral load may no longer work. This video helps explain ways that can help you avoid HIV drug resistance.
Avoiding drug resistance