Q and A

10 most common questions…

About half of all the questions to i-Base are covered by the questions below.

Please check this page before asking a question. If your question is covered by the topics below, we forward you to these answers first.

Top questions

1: Why doesn’t i-Base answer questions on HIV testing and transmission?

Short answer: i-Base does care – but we have limited resources. Instead we have published lots of info online that answers questions about testing and risk. The full answer explains this and includes links to this other information. See full answer.

2: Can I increase my CD4 count without treatment?

Short answer: using HIV meds (called ART) is the only proven way to increase your CD4 count and keep it high. Not vitamins, not supplements, not diet and definitely NOT so-called “immune-boosters” which are scams. Read the full answer for details.

3: What can make efavirenz (Atripla/Tribuss etc) easier – or should I change?

Short answer: Take at night and not after a high fat meal, change to a different combination if this don’t get easier. Side effects with efavirenz can be difficult. This question includes tips for how to make it easier and for when to change. Efavirenz is one of the drugs in Atripla and the many generic versions including Atenef, Atreslawin, Atroiza, Citenvir, Heftenam, Odimune, Tribuss, Trivenz, Truno, Trustiva and Viraday. See the full answer for details.

4: What happens if I am late or miss a dose of meds?

Short answer: Aiming for the same time is a good habit but everyone is late or misses a dose sometimes, without any harm. There is more flexibility once you have been undetectable for some time. See the full answer for details.

5: How can one partner test positive and the other negative?

Short answer: This is just good luck up to now – HIV is difficult to catch. Sometimes this question comes from the positive partner and sometimes from the negative partner. Often both partners can be confused if they not been using condoms, sometimes for several years. The full answer explains why this is common.

6: Can HIV positive people have a baby?

Short answer: absolutely yes, but you need to use HIV treatment (ART). Sometimes this question comes from a positive man and sometimes from a positive women. Sometimes both people are positive. ART covers all situations. ART lets couples conceive naturally if the man is positive and the woman is negative. It also protect the health of the mother and baby during pregnancy if the mother is positive. See the detailed answer

7: What happens if I stop taking treatment?

Short answer: your viral load will rebound quickly and your CD4 will then start to fall. This will usually be to the level your viral load was at before you started HIV treatment. Please see the full answer for details.

8: What does the number mean on an HIV test result?

Short answer: less than 1.0 means you are HIV negative. “Non-reactive” also means HIV negative. i-Base does not answer test questions but we still get asked this a lot from outside the UK. This full answer has links for more info on HIV testing.

9: Can we stop using condoms is viral load is undetectable on treatment?

Quick answer: the PARTNER study reported zero transmissions after couples had sex more than 58,000 times without condoms. Using a condom or not is a personal decision, but there is now good evidence to help you decide on this risk. Read the easy Q&A for full results in the link.

10: Questions about life expectancy…

Quick answer: with effective HIV treatment (ART) life expectancy is similar to being HIV negative. This is slightly more complicated if you are diagnosed late or have other coinfections. Otherwise, so long as you are good taking meds you can plan to have a full and active life. See these Q&As for more details.


(optional)

Your email will be kept private

(optional)

This will help us answer your question accurately but will not be published

Notes

  • We post a single answer to questions that are similar. The same question may have been asked by several other people.
  • If you want a completely private answer: include your email address but leave the "You may post my question on the i-Base website" box unchecked or email us at questions@i-base.org.uk
  • If you tell us we may post your answer on our website, your question and our answer will be available publicly. For complete confidentiality, leave out information that may identify you.
  • If you include an email address, we will send you a copy of our answer. This may contain additional personalised information.
  • Your email address will be kept private. It will not appear on the website.