How soon do I need to start?

As with all treatment decisions, this is individual. You are the person who has to take ART. You can chose when to start and which drugs you use.

Many people start in the same week they are diagnosed, sometimes on the same day. But as long as there is not a medical urgency (such as pregnancy or a very low CD4 count), you can take time.

  • Ask about the different drugs. What are the good and bad things about each of them?
  • Take time to think about what you want. Do not feel rushed into doing something you don’t understand.

However, it is more urgent to start quickly if:

  • If your CD4 count is very low.
  • If you are pregnant.
  • If you were very recently infected.

In all these situations the earlier you start the better. Every week earlier might be important.

This includes the option to start on the first day that you see your HIV doctor.

Last updated: 1 October 2019.