What To Expect After Changing HIV Treatment


Stacey Rizza, MD

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We’ve made great strides in antiretroviral therapy (ART) to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) since I first started my career in 1998. In fact, there are over 30 different medications available that can keep your virus in check. However, treatment options are still limited because once you stop taking a medication, or even miss just one day of treatment, the virus can mutate and become resistant to that specific treatment and it will never work again to keep your virus from replicating. For that reason, we will only switch medications as a last resort -- and it’s pretty rare that the first-line regiment won’t successfully control your viral load.

When we do switch to a new regimen, it’s because you are experiencing intolerable side effects like nausea, fatigue and/or diarrhea; your medication is reacting negatively with another medication you are taking; or if it is simply not working to control your viral load.

HIV treatment is very different than it was in the past. Now, with the right treatment, people who are HIV-positive live long, healthy lives. HIV experts share their tips for treating your HIV.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Apr 13, 2016

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