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Being involved in decisions about your treatment

You’ll probably have an opportunity to think about starting treatment over a number of weeks or even months.

You are more likely to take your HIV treatment correctly if you are involved in the decisions about when to start treatment and about which drugs to start treatment with.

Your doctor should take time to talk through with you why you need to start or change HIV treatment. It makes good sense to consider any past treatment experience, as well as your needs and preferences about how often you take your medication, the chances of developing side-effects, and the risk of interactions with other medicines and drugs.

You should also be given written information to take away and read about any treatment you are considering. It’s a good idea to ask questions if you are unclear about anything and to keep on asking questions until you understand. You may find it helpful to write down any questions you have before you go to your appointment, as it is easy to forget them once you are in a consultation.

Other members of the healthcare team at your clinic, particularly specialist HIV pharmacists, health advisers and nurses are good sources of information and support when starting or changing treatment. Some clinics can arrange for you to have ‘peer support’ (support and advice from someone else living with HIV) and all clinics will be able to tell you about support groups in your area if you think you would like to try one.

You may find NAM’s online tool, Get set for HIV treatment (www.aidsmap.com/getset) helpful when you’re thinking through the issues that might affect your ability to start and stick to treatment. You can find out about some other reliable sources of information at the end of this booklet (see Where to go for information, advice and support).

Taking your HIV treatment

Published March 2014

Last reviewed March 2014

Next review March 2017

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this booklet.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.