HIV Treatment

Fight back with HIV Treatment

See how different HIV medicines all work together to help fight HIV.

Help Protect Your Health

If you have HIV, you can take care of yourself. Talk to a healthcare provider. Starting HIV
treatment right away is one of the most important steps you can take. That's because HIV
damages your immune system by raising your viral load and lowering your CD4 count.


When HIV enters the body it damages your immune system by attacking your CD4 cells. These cells help fight infection and disease. But HIV destroys CD4 cells, so you have fewer of them. Fewer CD4 cells—a lower CD4 count—means your body is less able to fight off all kinds of illnesses.

The damage to your immune system can also cause inflammation. Inflammation is your body's normal response when you get sick or injured. Inflammation stops when you get well or when the injury heals.

But when you have HIV, inflammation goes on 24/7. And that can cause heart, liver, and kidney diseases. That is why starting HIV treatment is so important.

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Icon of immune system care

The damage to your immune system can lead to some infections, certain cancers, and even AIDS. But it does not have to happen.

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There is no cure for HIV. But HIV treatment can reduce inflammation and the harm HIV does to the immune system.

HIV treatment
has come a long way

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When compared to those first used to treat HIV, today’s treatments:

  • Are more effective and easier to take
  • Are often between one and three pills per day
  • Have fewer and less severe side effects

If you have any questions or concerns about HIV treatment, talk to your healthcare provider.

A healthier life can
start with treatment

Starting HIV treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis can help stop the virus in your body. Treatment helps lower your viral load. And that can help you:

  • Protect and improve your immune system
  • Fight infections and cancers
  • Stop the virus before it leads to AIDS

Plus, scientific studies show benefits to starting and sticking with treatment as soon as possible. In these studies, some people started treatment right away and some waited. Those who didn't wait had a lower chance of developing AIDS, tuberculosis, and certain cancers.

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Take care of your health

The sooner you start treatment and stick with it, the less damage HIV does to your immune system. And that gives you a better chance of living as long as someone without HIV.

Protect Yourself
and the People You Care About

HIV treatment can also work as prevention. It's actually called Treatment as Prevention, or TasP. Here's why it's so important.

Starting and sticking with HIV treatment every day helps you get to and stay undetectable. Current research shows that when you stay undetectable, there’s basically no risk of transmitting HIV through sex.

It's true. You can prevent the spread of HIV by taking your medicine as prescribed. But remember, HIV is still in your body. So stick with treatment, keep using condoms, and practice safer sex. Want to know more? Talk to a healthcare provider.

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Icon of doctor talking to patient

Talk to a
Healthcare Provider

When you work together, it helps your healthcare provider find the right HIV treatment for you. It also helps the two of you do what is best for your health.

Here's a discussion guide that can
help you get the conversation started.

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