Important Goals of HIV Treatment
Your doctor wants to make sure that your HIV medicines are right for you. That’s why you will usually have lab tests done at least every three to six months. Lab tests can help you and your doctor know:
- Whether or not your medicines are working
- If any of your medicines are causing side effects
- If you develop infections or other problems
There are several tests your doctor will do. To see if your HIV meds are working, two important tests measure your viral load and CD4+ cell count. These tests are important to help you meet the important goals of HIV therapy, which are explained below.
Lowering your viral load
HIV medicines help reduce the amount of HIV in the blood. The amount of HIV in the blood is called your viral load. Your doctor will prescribe HIV meds that help get your viral load as low as possible. This is one of the goals of HIV therapy - keeping HIV under control so that your viral load remains low.
In some cases, your viral load can become so low that the viral load test cannot find HIV in the blood. Doctors call this an undetectable viral load. This is a good sign because it shows that your treatment is working. But remember, undetectable does not mean that you are cured. The virus still exists at very low levels in your body, and you can still pass HIV on to others.
Raising your CD4+ cell count
HIV medicines can help raise your CD4+ cell count. CD4+ cells are also known as T-helper cells or T-cells. The more CD4+ cells you have, the stronger your immune system is to help fight off infections.
It’s important to keep track of how you feel
Some of the HIV meds you will take may make you feel tired or sick, even though your numbers are good. All HIV meds have some side effects, and everyone reacts differently to their meds. Talk to your doctor about your HIV therapy and any side effects you may be having.
It's important to keep track of how you feel every day. Keeping a diary can help you remember things you want to tell your doctor. Be specific when you talk to your doctor. The more specific you are about your side effects, the better your doctor can assess which of your medicines may be causing it.
Remember, it's important that you do not miss a dose of your HIV medicines. Let your doctor know if you’re having trouble taking any of your medicines at their scheduled time, so that he or she can help you decide what changes may be needed.
Ways to help achieve your treatment goals
Work with your healthcare provider to determine the treatment regimen that best meets your needs. You should discuss the number of pills you will have to take and when you will have to take them. You should also discuss any potential side effects and food restrictions with your medication.
Additional things that you may do to help reach your treatment goals are:
- Take your HIV meds every day exactly as directed by your healthcare provider
- Ask your healthcare provider for help if you have any difficulties with your meds
- Always consult your healthcare provider before making any change to your treatment regimen or schedule
As part of your HIV regimen, ATRIPLA may help you reach your treatment goals.
ATRIPLA does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS
and you may continue to experience illnesses associated with HIV-1 infection, including opportunistic infections.
See your healthcare provider regularly while taking ATRIPLA.
Please click here
for Important Safety Information, including information on buildup of lactic acid in the blood
, serious liver problems, and
sudden worsening of hepatitis B virus.