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 information online that will answer your 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 ARV meds is the only proven way to increase your CD4 count and keep them high. Not vitamins, not supplements, not so-called “immune-boosters” which are scams, not diet. Read the full answer for details.
  3. What can make efavirenz (Atripla/Tribuss etc) easier – or should I change?
    Short answer: Take at night on an empty stomach, change drugs if it doesn’t improve. 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 explanation in this answer explains why this is a common experience. The full answer explains.
  6. Can HIV positive people have a baby?
    Short answer: absolutely yes, but you need to use HIV treatment. Sometimes this question comes from a positive man and sometimes from a positive women. Sometimes both people are positive. HIV treatment covers all situations. It 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 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. See the full linked answer for lots more info on 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.

Last updated: 1 December 2016.


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