Why taking your treatment properly is important

Not taking your HIV medications properly can mean that they do not work effectively, leading to an increase in your viral load, a fall in your CD4 cell count and a greater risk of becoming ill and even dying because of HIV.

The reason taking your treatment correctly is so important is because HIV can quickly become resistant to the drugs used to treat it. If the blood level of an anti-HIV drug drops too low, then it will be unable to stop HIV reproducing and this gives the virus an opportunity to develop resistance. The drug-resistant strains of the virus will become dominant.

This could mean that not only do you become resistant to the drugs you are currently taking, but also to drugs similar to these. This is called cross-resistance, and although the risk varies from drug to drug, cross-resistance can occur in all classes of drug used to treat HIV.

 

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 It may have been superseded by more recent developments.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.