The key to being successful when using HIV meds is adherence. Adherence means taking every single dose of medication, every single time.
The advantages to adherence are:
Sustained viral suppression
When you take HIV meds correctly you are able to get the HIV under control then keep it that way. Medication is lifelong.
Reduced Risk of Drug Resistance
It is important that you take your HIV meds every day without missing doses. Taken the correct way, you will manage the virus. If you miss doses, you may develop resistance to the HIV meds and the meds will stop working.
Decreased Risk of Transmission
When you take HIV meds correctly, you are able to get the virus under control. When your virus is under control, you will not be able to infect your partner if you have unprotected sex. Known as U=U, Undetectable means Untransmittable, this is an important reason you should always adhere to your medication.
Improved Quality of Life
You can live a long and productive life even though you are HIV positive. You can get married, complete your studies, get that promotion, build your house, or buy your car…all the things you hoped to do. To maintain a good quality of life with HIV, you must first get the virus under control, and then secondly take medication without missing doses, so you can keep the virus under control. You can live a well life once the virus is under control. The only way to keep the virus under control is to take your medication every day without missing any doses.
Better Overall Health
When you are completely adherent you will be able to keep the HIV in small amounts in your body. When the virus is in small amounts, you won’t be ill with AIDS. Your body can function as normal, or near normal, once the virus is in small amounts. You have to follow the medical advice, take your medication and address any issues that arise. However, overall, you can expect better overall health.
Tips to Help Maintain Adherence
Use a daily Pill Box
Set an alarm on your phone
Always carry ‘extras’ for when you are away from home
Have a trusted relative or friend supporting you
Ask your health care provide questions so you understand your illness
Inform the staff about side effects from the medication
Do not stop using your meds. Discuss with a doctor or nurse
Be honest when informing about missed doses. The staff are here to help you improve
Keep your appointments
Call the clinic to re-schedule if you cannot make your appointment