New edition of our booklet on HIV treatment side-effects

Greta Hughson
Published: 22 July 2013

If you are thinking about starting HIV treatment, or changing the combination of anti-HIV drugs you take, then finding out about the possible side-effects might help you to choose the best treatment for you.

Our popular booklet, Side-effects, has just been updated and is now available at

Finding out about side-effects

For many people, starting to take any new drug brings with it concerns about side-effects. It isn’t possible to say for sure whether someone will experience side-effects, but knowing what side-effects are commonly experienced by people taking a particular drug can really help to prepare for taking it.

Some of the subjects covered in this edition of Side-effects include:

Talking to your doctor

Before you start taking a new drug, it’s really important to talk to your doctor, HIV specialist nurse or pharmacist about the risk of side-effects and how they might affect you. It’s also essential to tell them about any other drugs you are taking and any medical history or lifestyle issues that might affect your risk of experiencing side-effects.

When you’re taking a drug, it is sometimes hard to say whether a symptom you are experiencing is a side-effect, or something else. Talk to your doctor, or someone else at your clinic, about any symptoms you are experiencing – don’t just ‘grin and bear it’!

As well as the Side-effects booklet, you might find our online tool Talking points helpful. It’s designed to help you prepare for discussions with your healthcare team about HIV treatment:

And remember, it’s not inevitable you’ll experience side-effects at all. If you’re starting HIV treatment for the first time, our online tool Get set for HIV treatment can help you prepare for it.

For more information

You can read or download this booklet and all the other titles in this series, from our resources pages at

We’re very grateful to everyone who was involved in the updating of this title, in particular the people living with HIV and the medical professionals who reviewed and helped us to develop the text.

We would also like to thank Wandsworth Oasis for funding which made it possible for us to print this title. If you would like a print copy, please get in touch. If you work in a clinic or community organisation in the UK, you can also join our free booklet scheme. Through the scheme you can order multiple copies of our booklets and leaflets in our illustrated series The basics. Contact us on 020 7837 6988 or to find out more.

NAM has achieved certification with the Information Standard, a quality mark scheme developed by the Department of Health.

Please contact us if you have any questions, if you would like to give us feedback on existing titles, suggestions for future titles, or if you would like to translate or adapt any of our resources.

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

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.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.