Q and A

Question

I have meds but haven’t taken them yet…

Good Day, Was tested positive some days back and was given some medications to use.i have not started using it because i feel scared for the side effects or either something more drastic happening to me.i just always feel slightly tired time to time .whats the way forward please?

Answer

Hi there

First, how are you doing? If you were only just diagnosed it might be a confusing time.

Even though modern HIV meds (ART) means you can lead a long and natural life, it sometimes takes a while to really believe this. (See this link).

If your doctor has prescribed you meds, then it sounds like you are getting good care. But if you have questions that would be helpful to answer first, we can probably help.

Unless your CD4 count is very low (generally below 200 and especially if much lower), it is okay to take a few days – or a week or two – to find out about HIV and about your meds. If it is low though, it is probably better to read some of the information linked below and then just start more quickly.

If your combination does not include efavirenz, you are unlikely to notice any changes. Most combinations have a chance to cause minor side effects. These are only usually in a few people. The side effects are mild and quickly get easier.

The main HIV med that causes noticeable side effects is called efavirenz. If this is in your combination, it is important to read about possible mood changes and that it might interrupt your sleep (with vivid dreams). Knowing about this first means you can expect the side effects. For most people, these side effects get much easier after the first week or two.

If you get a rash, it is important to show your doctor, but most people are fine.

Otherwise, the only way to know how easy it will be is to start. Nearly everyone finds that ART is much easier than they thought. After starting, they wondered why they worried so much and why they didn’t start earlier.

This online guide has lots of information about starting ART:
http://i-base.info/guides/starting

This page lists all HIV meds, if you want more info and links about individual drugs:
http://i-base.info/guides/category/arvs

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