Science has come a long way, and unlike the early days of the HIV epidemic, there are a variety of treatment options that enable people living with HIV to live long and healthy lives. By starting treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis, it can help stop the virus from replicating, attacking and destroying the CD4 (white blood) cells that help your immune system fight off infection.
HIV treatment consists of taking medicine that helps lower the amount of HIV in your blood, known as the viral load. ART Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) consists of a daily HIV treatment regimen or combination of HIV medicines. While ART can’t cure HIV, it does work to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Taking your HIV medicine as prescribed will help keep your viral load very low known as viral suppression and the CD4 cell count high.
While treatment can be exhausting and lead to "treatment fatigue" following the regimen laid out by your doctor is critical to living a safe and thriving life.
Consistency is key when it comes to your medication regimen. Taking your medication as prescribed will ensure that you do not develop drug resistance to your HIV medication. This can result when someone forgets to take their pills as prescribed and it could lead to a change or mutation to the virus that makes your current HIV treatment not as effective in maintaining viral suppression.
There are thousands of local organizations working to stop STIs and HIV in their tracks. Connect with them to find the services you need.