Q and A


Can I restart medication?

I stopped my medication for HIV, now I want to use it again. This is because I am loosing weight. What will happen to me, am I going to get sick?


Thanks for getting in touch.

How long have you been off ARVs for? Do you know what your viral load and CD4 count were when you stopped medication?

There’s no reason why you can’t go back to taking meds, this is actaully very important. This is because only ARVs can help your HIV.

What you should do, is go and visit your doctor. It is your doctor who will need to do some blood tests and also see if you’ve developed resistance to the meds that you used to take. Once these have been done, they’ll be able to advice you what to take. Or you could of course contact us.

With regards to getting sick, ARVs help your HIV. Its not being on them that causes problems for peoples health. This is explained at the following link, please see question 7:



  1. Simon Collins

    Hi Anthony, thanks. We sometimes hear about people stopping ART for this reason. Most countries have a way for people to get free medicines even if they lose insurance. Now you are about to restart though, there is a really good chance that they will all still work. Although your viral load will have become detectable again, your CD4 count (your immune marker) should still be strong.

  2. Anthony

    I was undetected and had to stop medications because lost my insurance and couldn’t afford it. It has only been one month. I will be back on medication in a few days. Will I be able to be back to undetectable status like I was before? How bad will my immune system be affected? Can you rebuild your immune system?

  3. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Michelle,

    I’m sorry to hear you defaulted on the meds. Are you back on them now?

    But can I ask why you stopped treatment? Was it because of side effects, or perhaps there were other reasons. So please let us know what meds you’re taking. And if you have access to your CD4 count and viral load results, please tell us those too.

    Gaining weight can be difficult. But it can help to have a balanced diet. Please see this guide to a balanced diet and your health. You can also ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian for special advice.

  4. Michelle

    Hi iv defaulted on my meds and now it’s hard to gain weight again

  5. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Nosipho,

    Yes, there’s no reason why you can’t go back to taking meds. As Lisa says above, you should go and visit your doctor. You can ask for blood tests and get advice on what meds to take.

    What meds are you taking at the moment? And please let us know your latest CD4 count and viral load results.

    If you live in South Africa you can contact the Treatment Action Campaign. They could help with local support, especially if there’s a stock out of meds.

  6. Nosipho

    Can I restart my medication,it been two weeks not taking my med

  7. Roy Trevelion

    Hi N,

    I’m really sorry to hear that it’s difficult for you to pay for transport to the clinic. But it’s important that you find a clinic where you and your kid can get the treatment you need.
    You can contact the Treatment Action Campaign. They might be able to help. Here’s a link to their email contact page.

  8. N

    Hallo my kid and I was on treatment it’s right month we didn’t use reason is fancial problem for transportation to clinic so it’s not late to go back am fearing for her life and also nurses at clinic are too rude sometimes help

  9. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Godfirst,

    Because you’ve been off meds for 7 years you will need to see a specialist HIV doctor. They will need to do some tests so that they can see how you are doing and so that you can decide what medication to take.


    Hello and good afternoon, I was on ARV in 2009 and stop on 2010, can I start taking the drug again, or am I to run some test before I start taking the arv


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