Switching – nearly always an option if you have side effects

This page is part of Pocket ART, an easy guide to HIV treatment.

Switching treatment is much easier than most people think.

ART is usually made up of a combination of three active drugs. If one or more of these drugs are causing side effects there are usually alternatives that you can try.

Your choice will depend on your HIV treatment history.

Whether you decide to change treatment, when you change, and what you change to will also be individualised for you.

Often doctors are reluctant to change ART if your CD4 and viral load results are good.

But if ART is causing side effects this will be affecting your quality of life.

You don’t have to put up with side effects if alternatives are available. ART will help you lead a long and active life. You want to make sure this is also the best quality it can be.

If you viral load is undetectable when you switch, you can always return to your current drugs in the future if the new ART isn’t any better.