This page is part of Pocket ART, an easy guide to HIV treatment.

Keeping a side effect diary for a few weeks can help in many ways.

  • It can show a pattern to the symptoms that you otherwise were not aware off.
  • It might show more accurately how the symptoms are affecting your life. This might be better or worse than your thought.
  • It can show whether things you do have any benefit. For example starting a treatment for the side effect or switching to a different drug or combination.
  • It can help you when talking to your doctor.
  • It can help your doctor – and will emphasise how important this is..

The diary can be as brief or as detailed as you want.

It should include details about the following factors for each entry.

  • When the symptoms occurred: the day and approximate time.
  • How long the symptoms lasted.
  • How severe were the symptoms on a scale of 1 to 5. (1 = mild and 5 = severe)
  • How the symptoms affect your life in everyday terms.
    • For example, if you are not sleeping well, how does this affect you the next day?
    • If you have diarrhoea that is not  well managed, does this stop you going to the cinema, or seeing friends in the pub.
    • If you are feeling depressed or worried, how does this affect your life?

These links included more detailed information and a link to a printable diary.