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.

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. Sandile

    Hi,I also want to know if you should take your ARV’s before or after meal? I have patients who asks me for advice. They take Efavirenz,Tenofovir

  2. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Thandi,

    Its great to hear that you’re now back on your meds. This is important, because its the meds that will control your HIV.

    Its very unlikely that you missing two months of meds will have caused your any long term problems. However, its important that you have your CD4 checked and your viral load. This is because its important to make sure that you didn’t develop resistance to your meds. If you did then you will to change your ARVs.

  3. Thandi

    I missed two months of meds, I am though now taking them again. Will this has caused me problems?

  4. Ongezwa

    I forgot to take my meds at 10pm, and took them at 5am, is this OK?

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Alime,

    How you take your ARVs will depend on what you’re taking. What meds do you take?

  6. Alime

    Should I take ARVs before or after meal?

  7. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Kitty,

    Its fine to keep your meds in a different bottle, this won’t effect how they work. If you want you could just put them all in there. This would save you having to do what you’re doing.

  8. Kitty

    Hi I’m taking Atroiza at around 8:45 pm since I’m living with a room mate who doesn’t know about my status I decide to take a pill out of the container during the day wrap it with a tissue paper or sometimes put it in my empty Vitamin B-Complex container still store it in cool dry place will it affect my treatment in any manner?

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