Nausea, Vomiting and Diarrhea : Introduction

A Smart + Strong Site
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Nausea, Vomiting and Diarrhea
en español


When it comes to side effects of HIV medications, the gastrointestinal tract—the gut—is one of the most commonly affected organ systems in the body. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are three ways in which the gut deals with toxins. These are important defense mechanisms, as they help keep dangerous germs—such as bacteria, viruses, and other bugs—as well as truly harmful chemicals out of the body. Although antiretrovirals (ARVs) are designed to fight HIV, the gut often considers these HIV meds to be harmful and may turn on its defense mechanisms to clear them from the body.

These side effects don't occur in everyone, and fortunately when they occur as side effects of HIV treatment, they are usually mild and tend to diminish after the first few days or weeks of treatment. Even so, they can have a serious impact on your quality of life and need to be addressed as a part of your overall health so you can get the most out of your treatment.

If nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting are severe or prolonged, they can lead to serious health problems and can prevent HIV meds from entering the bloodstream and from doing what they need to do. You should report these symptoms to your doctor, to determine if they are a side effect of treatment or a symptom of something more serious.


Last Revised: February 26, 2015

This content is written by the POZ and AIDSmeds editorial team. For more information, please visit our "About Us" page.

Research updates

> More Treatment News

Search for news stories about this topic

Lesson Index
Collapse All | Up One Level

Tell us what you think
Have you visited your health care provider within the last 4 months?

AIDSmeds Reader Survey

more surveys

[ about AIDSmeds | AIDSmeds advisory board | our staff | advertising policy | advertise/contact us]
© 2016 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.