C A R E
The most important part of this journey will be the medications. There are several combinations of possible medications that you might be prescribed, they all work in different ways for different people. The majority of people stay on their first medications for a long time. Very rarely you might need to discontinue a medication because of an adverse reaction or possible drug interactions. Most of the new drugs are extremely well tolerated with almost no side effects.
There are presently 6 classes of medications: Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs) , Non Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptors Inhibitors (NNRTIs) , Protease Inhibitors (PIs) , Integrase Inhibitors (INSTIs) , Entry Inhibitors, and Fusion Inhibitors. They all do the same thing but in very different ways: they stop HIV from reproducing inside your body
Your mind will become very powerful at this point you start taking drugs, every ache and pain will become magnified by your subconscious mind but you will need to rationally look at your health issues and realize that you will need to reflect carefully.
The medications are also quite powerful and you will start to see an immediate improvement in your viral load reduction and rise cd4 counts. Your first test a month after starting meds will be verification that things are working and you are getting better. Hopefully depending on where you started from you will become UD and your CD4 will be on the rise within a short time.
This is one of the priority issues you will need to deal with on a daily basis. You must take your medicines everyday at the same time according to the pharmacists instructions. There are a variety of ways that you can remember to take your medications, phone alarms, reminder apps, support groups. You will need to get at least a weekly pillbox with all the days listed on it to ensure that you never have to second guess if you have taken your daily dose. The medication must become part of your daily ritual.
The importance of daily adherence to your medications can not be stressed enough for two reasons. Firstly if you start missing or late dosing there is a possibility that your medications might stop working properly and you would not know it until you had your next viral load check. If the medications stop working the HIV virus will reproduce at a much faster rate tan before. If you do not take your medications regularly here is also a chance that the HIV in your body could become resistant to certain medications or other medications within the class. Now of course there are other medications that are available if this happens but adherence is the best way to avoid this problem.
You will need to see your doctor and get lab work every three months for the first year or so to make sure that everything is on track and going in the right direction and you are becoming healthier. The first year is definitely the hardest and being able to understand all of this new data adds to what seems to be a complex situation that can be overwhelming. After your first few months you will have educated yourself and gotten all of the necessary information to better understand your new life. Soon you will only need to go every to see your doctor every six months for checkups, tests, and to get new prescriptions.
You will also need to keep up to date with new advances in treatment and information, this will happen naturally and with a few simple subscriptions to HIV websites you will always be current with your knowledge. See the resources section for helpful websites.