Sticking to treatment as prescribed helps make sure there's always enough medicine in your body to help fight the virus and help you get to and stay undetectable. Undetectable means that there is so little virus in the blood that a lab test can't measure it, and getting there can help you live a longer and healthier life with HIV. It might seem challenging at first, but it is an important step to help you stay healthy. And it goes a long way in helping to stop the virus. By sticking to treatment as prescribed, you can be in control of managing your HIV viral load. Current research shows that taking HIV treatment as prescribed and getting to and staying undetectable prevents transmitting HIV through sex.
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.
There are many strategies that can help you keep up with your HIV treatment. Here are a few that might help:
It's important to talk to your healthcare provider about treatment plans that can fit into your routine.
It starts by having a conversation. During any appointment with your healthcare provider, know that nothing is off-limits. Do not be scared to share your thoughts or feelings about your HIV treatment or your journey living with HIV. Also, do not be afraid to talk to your healthcare provider about any other issues you may be facing, such as mental health or any alcohol or substance use issues. They have what's best for you in mind and sharing your honest experience with them can leave you feeling empowered and in control of your own health.
There are a lot of people and places to turn to for HIV support. When you have HIV, it's important to remember that you're not alone. There are many different types of people who make up your support team. They can be:
You are also part of your support team. So, continue to learn about HIV and your treatment options, and be your own advocate.
Real person living with HIV.
AALIA: Before HIV, I was living for everyone else. Trying to be a people pleaser. And honestly, I feel like this made me walk my truth.
I stopped pointing the blame.
And I looked at myself.
And I told myself, right now, I really have to live because it made me stand up. And handle my business.
Take care of myself. So that I can live. So that I can get to, you know, achieve those goals.
HIV was just one ... it seemed like a big problem at the time. But now I look at it as just ... one part of me.
The main thing that I’ve learned or experienced is that treatment equals prevention.
You must manage. You must commit.
And ... think about it as a new life.
Working together with your healthcare provider helps them find the right HIV treatment for you—one that can fit your life and your schedule. Here are some topics you can discuss with your healthcare provider at your next appointment.
Living with HIV: Aalia | Handling my business
No questions are off-limits when you meet with them, and it's great to come prepared. Here are some topics to discuss with them at your next visit.