HIV CARE What is HIV treatment?
HIV treatment (antiretroviral therapy or ART) involves taking medicine as prescribed by a health care provider. HIV treatment reduces the amount of HIV in your body and helps you stay healthy.
• There is no cure for HIV, but you can control it with HIV treatment.
• Most people can get the virus under control within six months.
• HIV treatment does not prevent transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases.
When should I start HIV treatment?
Start HIV treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis.
• All people with HIV should take HIV treatment, no matter how long they’ve had HIV or how healthy they are.
• Talk to your health care provider about any medical conditions or other medicines you are taking.
What if I delay HIV treatment?
If you delay treatment, HIV will continue to harm your immune system. Delaying treatment will put you at higher risk for transmitting HIV to your partners, getting sick, and developing AIDS.
Are there different types of HIV treatment?
There are two types of HIV treatment: pills and shots.
• Pills are recommended for people who are just starting HIV treatment. There are many
FDA-approved single pill and combination medicines available.
• People who have had an undetectable viral load (or have been virally suppressed) for at least three months may consider shots.
What are HIV treatment shots?
HIV treatment shots are long-acting injections used to treat people with HIV. The shots are given by your health care provider and require routine office visits. HIV treatment shots are given once a month or once every other month, depending on your treatment plan.
Can I switch my HIV treatment from pills to shots?
Talk to your health care provider about changing your HIV treatment plan. Shots may be right for you if you are an adult with HIV who
• has an undetectable viral load (or has achieved viral suppression),
• has no history of treatment failure, and
• has no known allergy to the medicines in the shot.
What is HIV PrEP?
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is medicine that reduces your chances of getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV.
Are there different types of PrEP?
PrEP can be pills or shots.
There are two pills approved for use as PrEP: Truvada® and Descovy®.
• Truvada® is for people at risk through sex or injection drug use.
• Descovy® is for people at risk through sex. Descovy is not for people assigned female at birth who are at risk for HIV through receptive vaginal sex.
Apretude is the only shot approved for use as PrEP. Apretude is for people at risk through sex who weigh at least 77 pounds (35 kg).
Can I switch from pills to shots?
Talk to us at Saving Lives Center Family Clinic about switching from PrEP pills to shots. PrEP shots may be right for you if you do not have HIV and have no known allergy to the medicines in the shot.
If you decide to switch from PrEP pills to shots, you’ll need to visit our clinic regularly to receive your shot. You’ll also need to be tested for HIV prior to each PrEP shot.
Is PrEP safe?
• PrEP is safe, but some people experience side effects like diarrhea, nausea, headache, fatigue, and stomach pain. These side effects usually go away over time.