Q and A

Question

What happens if I stop taking treatment?

What are the side effects if someone stops taking her medication for HIV?

Answer

Thanks for your question.

May I ask why you are thinking of stopping? Many people find adhering hard at some in their lives but there are ways to make it easier. Likewise if you are suffering side effects – you can switch to meds that better suit you.

Several years ago a very large study called SMART reported that stopping treatment increased the risk of  serious complications. These included a higher risk for heart, liver and kidney complications in people who stopped treatment and also a higher rate of some cancers.

If you decide to stop treatment, your viral load is likely to rebound within a week or two. If you stay off treatment your CD4 count will start to drop over the next few months. When this happens the risk of developing other infections and getting sick increases.

In the SMART study, most people who took a treatment break did pretty well for a short time. However, most people were not able to recover their CD4 count to earlier levels even 18 months after they restarted treatment.

Please talk to your doctor about who you feel. It is not generally good to stop treatment. It is definitely not good to do this without first talking to your doctor.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

47 comments

  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Pinky,

    When situations like this happen they can make a person anxious. You will however need to wait until your results are back. If your final test is positive, please email us.

  2. Pinky

    Hi. I have recently did HIV test which were sent to the lab, and the results came out as “inconclusive” . I did another test and the results came back positive. I asked my doctor on the same day to do a prickle test n it came out negative. We took another test to be sent to the lab. While m still awaiting the results, What is the next step as am unsure whether or not m positive? Am nervous.

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Nokulunga,

    Its common to feel sick when you first start Atrozia. This is something that should usually go within a few weeks. If it continues you may need to change your meds. Its important not to stop taking them as this will affect your viral load. Please see here for more info:

    http://i-base.info/guides/starting

  4. Nokulunga

    Hi I just found out im HIV positive and I only took atroiza 3 times and they are making me sick so Im thinking of stopping taking the drugs will they affect me?

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Laura,

    Is there any specific reason why you want to stop taking meds?

  6. Laura

    I’ve been on antivirals for 10 years. Am undetectable and want to stop taking meds.

  7. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Henry,
    It’s good that you’ve started medication. Here’s the i-Base guide to starting treatment (ART).

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