Q and A


What happens if I stop taking treatment?

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


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.


  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Maria,

    Its very possible that your second test was a false positive, therefore its good to hear that you’re going for another test. Hopefully the test on the 26th will be definitive.

    If it does turn out that you’re positive, as your doctor has said you will need to take ARVs.

  2. Maria

    Hey I would like yo ask ” I got a test on 2 December 2018″ so I was negative .so m confused I went there again this month 2″ the January 2018. My result said positive’ my doctor said I should start drinking medicine” I said no let’s confirm on 26 January”.

  3. Simon Collins

    Thanks isaka, it is good that are you doing okay now :)

  4. isaka

    Now I get the more knowledge about how to overcome HIV, thanks a lot for this. We should healthy my friends and follow advice so that we can fight against HIV.

  5. Simon Collins

    Hi Krishna, if you are HIV positive, modern treatment will give you a normal lifespan. It is easy. If you broke your leg you would have a doctor fix it. If you had TB you would take medicine. HIV is just the same.


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