HIV treatment: True or False?

There is a lot of information out there about starting HIV treatment.

It can be difficult to tell whether it’s information you should trust.

Try our quiz to find out what you know about HIV treatment!

Question 1

All HIV medicines make people feel worse because of side effects.

FALSE
Like all medicines, HIV treatments may have side effects, and these vary from person to person. This means not everyone taking the medicine will suffer from all or some of the known side effects. Some people may experience no side effects at all. If you’ve already started treatment, talk to your doctor about any side effects you may be experiencing.

Question 2

My life will now revolve around my HIV treatment

FALSE
It’s understandable to have concerns about how HIV treatment will affect your daily routine. Fortunately, there are different types of HIV treatment available that your doctor can discuss with you. Make sure you raise any concerns you may have about side effects and be open about your current routine. This will help you and your doctor work out what’s best for you.

Question 3

The doctor will recommend that I start taking HIV medicine even if I feel well 

TRUE
If you have recently been diagnosed as HIV-positive, you’ll be recommended to begin treatment as soon as possible. This is following the guidelines of the European AIDS Clinical Society. Remember to be honest with your doctor about any concerns you may have. This will help you to discuss the treatment options together so you can work out what is best for you.

Question 4

I do have a choice in the HIV treatment I’m going to be on

TRUE
Even though your doctor will make a choice on the best treatment for you, you have a say in the decision. It’s important to be honest with your doctor about your lifestyle and any concerns you may have. You should also let them know about any other health conditions you have and medications you currently take. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbal supplements and recreational drugs you may take. This will help you to work together to decide which treatment is best for you.

Question 5

The main goal of my HIV treatment is to lower my viral load

TRUE
The main goal of HIV treatment is to lower your viral load. This is the amount of virus in your blood. You may have heard about being 'undetectable' when talking to your doctor. This is when your viral load is less than 50 copies of HIV-1 RNA per millilitre of blood. An undetectable viral load allows your immune system to become stronger – this is measured by checking your CD4 count. 

Question 6

Once I’m on a treatment for HIV, I can’t change it even if I want to

FALSE
Switching your HIV treatment doesn’t always have to be because of side effects. There can be many different reasons why you and/or your doctor might want to switch your treatment. For example, you may find that your current medication no longer fits into your routine or lifestyle, or you and your doctor may have concerns about its suitability as you get older. Your doctor might also like to consider another treatment with newer research or discuss with you their concerns about future risks of your current treatment.

It’s important you talk to your doctor If you are experiencing any side effects of your treatment or have any other concerns.

 

End

How did you do?

We hope you were able to clear up some of the misconceptions you may have about starting HIV treatment.

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