Q and A


I am 18 and stopped ART and don’t know what to do next?

Hi. I am 18 years old and I started taking meds in September 2022. And now I stopped for almost a month because they make me feel like vomiting all day long.

I can’t concentrate at work. I nowadays forget a lot. So i decided to take a break but I don’t know.

Sometimes I feel like committing suicide. I really don’t know what to do next.


Hi there

Thanks for writing and letting us post an answer online.

Although I only have these few details I hope this answers shows that you have lots of options. Even though you are having a difficult time, there are lots of things that can make life easier again.

First, please get in touch with your clinic or doctor to let them know you are having trouble. Please say that the side effects were so difficult that you stopped them a few weeks ago.

No one will mind this, but they will want to help. They can only help if they know how you are feeling right now :)

For example, if the first meds caused side effects, there are other combinations that might be much easier.

I also wondered if you were recently diagnosed or whether you have been positive for w while and only just started treatment? Depending on your answer I would include different information.

Does anyone else know you are HIV positive? Also, do you know other people who are positive? This can also make a big difference to how you feel. Talking to other people with a similar experience can really help, especially if they are a similar age.

Many people go through the things you are experiencing now, and it can be good to hear how they coped. And also to know that things can get much easier.

Although I am older, it might help you to know that at one time I was very ill but have now been on HIV meds for over 25 years. I also use a combination that does not give me side effects. . Like many people, I don’t let HIV stop me doing whatever I want in life. Apart from in my job, I hardly ever even think about HIV.

Please write back if you have other questions and if this would help. This time of year can be especially difficult.

Also, because you mentioned feeling lost and thinking of suicide, there are support phoneline in every country where you can speak free and in confidence to someone who can listen to how you feel.

n the UK, the phoneline for the Samaritans is 116 123. The US National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Eight helplines for South Africa are linked here.

Phonelines in over 60 other countries are linked from this page.

1 comment

  1. Shridhar

    Simon thanks so much for sharing your story.


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