Things You Should Know Before Starting Treatment

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Things You Should Know Before Starting Treatment
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Things You Should Know Before Starting Treatment

As you and your health care provider review your blood tests over time, the hardest questions you will face is when to start treatment, and what treatments to take. Before you can answer these questions, you will need to understand two important concepts: "Adherence" and "Drug Resistance." Adherence just means taking your medication the way it's supposed to be taken. It sounds easy, but sometimes it's not. HIV drugs may need to be taken at specific times of the day, with or without certain kinds of food. It's important to think about adherence, because you probably won't be taking these drugs just for a week or two, but for many years. You'll need to find a combination of drugs that works best for you and your schedule.

For more information on adherence, click on the following lesson links:

Lesson Why Adherence is Important
Adherence Tips and Tools

And then there is drug resistance. When an HIV therapy is failing, or is not taken properly, the virus begins to mutate. Then the drug becomes even less effective, until finally it stops working altogether. This process is known as drug resistance. It's important to avoid or minimize drug resistance, because resistance to one drug may also produce resistance to other drugs that you have never taken. This is known as "cross resistance." Fortunately, there are tests to measure HIV drug resistance which can help you make your treatment decisions.

For more information on drug resistance and the tests to measure it, click on the following lesson link:

Lesson Understanding Drug Resistance

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Last Revised: June 24, 2011

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

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