Q and A


Is it ok if I take my meds 15 or 30 mins late?

Do you have to take your arvs at exactly the same time each day? Will for example 30 mins (or even an hour) each way have any impact whatsoever on the suppression of the virus or cause resistance? I am worried as even though I take them every day some days it is 15 or 30 mins later or earlier than the previous day.


Thank you for your question.

It is sometimes difficult to take your meds at the exact same time everyday.

Even when starting, there is a window of about an hour either side of your target time when it is still fine to take them.

For example, if you want to take your meds every night at 10 pm, then any time between 9pm and 11pm will be fine.

We are all human and there will be occasions when you forget your meds.

The less this happens the better but if it does happen once in a while then there is nothing to worry about. If you forget in the future take them as soon as you remember, unless you are already close to the next dose as you do not need to double dose.

Once you get an undetectable viral load, especially if t have been undetectable for several years, your probably have much more flexibility. This partly depends on which drugs you are using.

Some once daily drugs (including tenofovir DF, emtricitabine and efavirinz) stay in your body for long enough to cover being several hours late or to missing doses completely.

Several studies are looking at whether reduced dosing might be safe – for example by only taking ART for four days a week. We need bigger studies before we know if this is safe though.

Note: this question was updated in October 2016 from and original answer in April 2011.


  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Peter,

    Yes you can take both cotrimozazole and ARVs at the same time.

  2. Peter

    Hi, can u take cotrimoxazole and ARVs at the same time,say, both at 8pm?

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Vee,

    Can you go to another clinic for some meds? If not, have they said when they’ll have some more meds in stock? Being off meds for more than a few days isn’t ideal for anyone. However, you may be ok given that you’re undetectable. You will however need to restart meds as soon as you can, because your viral load will begin to increase.

  4. Vee

    Hi. I am using Atroiza and due to medication issues at my clinic, I have missed a week of taking the pill. My viral load is undetected and my CD4 count is over 500. Could this missed dose affect my viral load and what can I do to avoid this issue as this problem has not yet been sorted.

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Thoba,

    When someone starts meds it important that they adhere to them. This is so that you can start to control your HIV. You not being on meds could have caused your viral load to rebound, however you may be OK. When are you going to restart your meds? And what were you taking?

  6. Thoba

    I haven’t taken my meds in 7 days, and I’ve been on meds for about 4 months, what will happen?


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