Treatment Options

Adapted from original prepared for the ACE directory by Al McKittrick


Regardless of when you were infected with HIV, you should visit a doctor right away so your health status can be monitored on an ongoing basis. At some point, you will want to decide with your physician when would be a good time to initiate drug therapy. The many HIV medications work in different ways to attack the virus. Some of the drugs are combined together in one pill. When you start drug therapy, you should be using more than one of these drugs at the same time. Optimally you want your drug therapy to suppress the virus to “undetectable,” so that your immune system has a chance to raise your T-cell count back toward normal levels. It is important to know that even with an “undetectable” viral load the virus is not completely gone and can still be passed on through known risk behaviors.

Any drug has side effects and HIV drugs are no different. After starting a drug regimen you will want to visit your doctor on a regular basis to help monitor your progress and watch for possible drug toxicities. It is also important to be aware of interactions that your HIV drugs may have with other medications, so be sure to tell your doctor about all other medications, supplements and drugs you are using. The whole objective is for you to stay as healthy as possible so that you can be here to enjoy life and take advantage of all the advances in treatment that keep coming. Stay well!