Can I stop ART?

Stopping ART is not generally a good idea, unless there is a medical need to do this.

  • Your viral load is likely to increase within a few days. 
  • Within a few weeks it might be back to pre-ART levels.
  • Your CD4 count is likely to drop. It will be more difficult to recover when you restart ART.
  • Each time you stop there is a risk of drug resistance.

Staying on ART is generally better for your long term health. It will keep your CD4 count high and keep HIV under control.

Even if you have problems with ART, speak to your doctor rather than just stopping ART.

If you really want to take a break, your doctor can help.

  • If this is because side effects are difficult or you don’t like the food advice, there are other drugs that might be better.
  • If you still want to stop, your HIV doctor can tell you how to do this as safely as possible.
  • If you are not on ART, then monitoring your CD4 and viral load is more important.

Last updated: 1 October 2019.