How soon do I need to start?

In the UK, you can begin ART whenever you are ready.

This is usually soon after testing positive.

How long you wait also depends on your individual situation.

Your HIV doctor should talk about ART in your first appointment.

Getting an HIV diagnosis can still be a shock.

  • Take time to come to terms with this change in your life.
  • Other services can help

This includes peer support from other people living with HIV.

My first reaction was to put off starting therapy for as long as possible. I tried to improve my immune system by stopping smoking and using supplements, until I realised that my best bet was to use ARVs. They are the only way to ensure my long-term survival.

After 8 months of resisting treatment I eventually started ARVs. I do not say that I gave in, but that I became more clever!

— Vladimir, St Petersburg

Last updated: 1 June 2022.