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 stop treatment – which is always our choice – your viral load is likely to rebound within a few weeks and your CD4 will drop again. When this happens you are at risk of developing other infections and getting sick. In the SMART study, most people who took a treatment break were not able to recover their CD4 count to earlier levels even after starting treatment for 18 months.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Information on this website is provided by treatment advocates and offered as a guide only. Decisions about your treatment should always be taken in consultation with your doctor.


  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Khetani,

    Thanks for the positive feedback. Its great to know that you find our services helpful.

  2. Khetani

    Thanks to the answers from HIV advocates and others.
    It really helful and encouraging to people living with HIV.

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Serkalem,

    Thanks ever so much. Your comment is greatly appreciated.

  4. serkalem

    your advice is very nice for HIV+ person.

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