take a deep breath.
You’re not alone.
Care and Treatment
The sooner you start treatment after diagnosis, the better it is for your overall health. National treatment guidelines recommend healthcare providers prescribe treatment immediately after HIV diagnosis rather than waiting for lab results. This is known as rapid initiation and may help patients reach an undetectable viral load sooner and decrease the likelihood of transmitting the virus, among other health benefits.
Why treat HIV rapidly?
Benefits of rapid initiation.
- Helps decrease the chances of transmitting HIV
- Lowers your viral load to undetectable
- Helps you stay engaged in a treatment plan
- Decreases health-related complications caused by HIV and other HIV-related illnesses
What’s best for you?
The following 3 tests help determine what medication is best for you.
CD4+ cells are white blood cells that fight infections like HIV, so measuring these levels in your blood help determine how well your immune system is functioning. The goal of treatment is to keep your CD4+ count as high as possible.
Viral load test.
Your viral load tells you how much HIV virus is in your blood. The point of HIV treatment is to keep your viral load as low as possible. Most of today’s treatments can get your viral load to such a low level that it is not able to be seen in a blood test. In other words, it’s undetectable.
This testing identifies if there are any HIV medicines that may not be effective against your strain of HIV. If you become resistant to a drug and continue to take it, the resistant HIV virus will continue to multiply.
How a missed dose can affect HIV treatment levels.
Missing doses of your HIV treatment gives HIV a chance to bounce back:
Everyone has different needs, so everyone’s HIV treatment will vary. Here are some things to take into consideration:
- Do you have any other diseases or health conditions?
- Are there potential drug interactions your HIV medicines may have with other medicines you are taking?
- How will any possible side effects make you feel day to day?
- What’s the regimen like? A medication that includes 2 or more HIV medicines combined in 1 pill, may fit some lifestyles better.