Discover a range of topics in HIV
Watch and discover a range of topics in HIV
HIV: Avoiding resistance
Understanding the risks of resistance
If you take HIV treatment now, or plan to start soon, it’s important to understand HIV resistance—what it is, how to avoid it, and how the HIV treatment you take may help fight against it. Sometimes, HIV can mutate or change. Resistance is when changes so much that your treatment may no longer work. In other words, the HIV in your body becomes resistant to the treatment you’re taking, and that is not good. What you need is an effective HIV treatment by your side, one that can protect your health and help you live a longer life.
How does resistance happen? Well, let’s take a look at HIV. It’s a virus with one goal. All it wants to do is multiply, and it even uses your body’s own disease fighting cells to make more HIV. The amount of virus in your body, your viral load, goes up, and that’s something you don’t want. That’s why you want an HIV treatment that can stand up to the virus. There are many treatment options available, and most are made up of three different medicines, which can even be in a single pill. The medicines back each other up and help fight the virus in different ways. But it takes a steady level of medicine in your blood stream for it to work because HIV is still in your body, and it’s just waiting for a chance to get going again. So if your HIV treatment isn’t right for you, or if you don’t take it the right way, or if you stop taking HIV treatment, the level of medicines in your bloodstream can go down, and that’s the chance HIV is waiting for. When medicine levels are too low in your body, HIV can begin multiplying again. It can also get sneaky. It can mutate, which means the virus can create whole new versions of itself. Your HIV treatment is no longer effective against these new versions. That’s another way to say resistance, when HIV resists your treatment it makes HIV harder to treat over time and limits your treatment options. That’s why it’s so important to start and stick with your HIV treatment, just as your healthcare provider prescribed, so that the medicines in your treatment are always ready to fight back and help keep the virus from getting sneaky. How will you know? Your regular viral load test helps tell your healthcare provider if your HIV treatment is working. If your viral load doesn’t go down or if it goes back up suddenly, HIV resistance could be the cause. So, stick with treatment, and tell your healthcare provider about anything that keeps you from taking your HIV treatment every day. You can also ask about treatment options that can help protect you from resistance. There is no cure for HIV, but you can take action to avoid resistance. When your treatment works the right way, you’re fighting HIV and protecting your health. And there’s one more thing—you can help stop the virus.