Introduction to ART

This guide includes information about the most important aspects of HIV antiretroviral treatment (ART).

It is written and reviewed by HIV positive people and it uses everyday language to explain medical terms. June 2022.


First questions: what, when, why?

Age, heart disease, gender and pregnancy

Deciding when to start treatment

U=U and Treatment as Prevention (TasP)

Side effects

You and your doctor: your rights as a patient and things you can do to help


Drug resistance

Which drugs, which combination?

Generic HIV drugs and HIV care in the UK

Continued use of efavirenz

Your personal treatment history


Further information

Tables and diagrams


PDFs and downloads




Written and compiled by Simon Collins for HIV i-Base with thanks to an extended advisory group of HIV positive people and community advocates for comments. Additional thanks to Dr Laura Waters, Dr Tristan Barber and to Neal Marshall at the HIV Pharmacist Group for medical review and comments. Thanks also to Hosanna, Lenny, Matt, Memory, Mike, Nathan, Paul, Polly, Simon, Vladimir, Winnie and Xavi for permission to include quotes from their experience. Design by No Days Off. Funding thanks to The Monument Trust. Not-for-profit copying is encouraged or call for additional free copies.

About our guides

Information about how we produced this guide and the importance of using language that is direct and easy to understand. This includes information on how to write non technical medical information that may be useful as a resource for other organisations.

Last updated: 1 June 2022.