The minimum number of doses you need to take

You should try and take all your doses correctly. The best response to HIV treatment is seen in people who have taken all their treatment properly. Taking less than 95% of doses correctly has been associated with a a poorer chance of getting HIV down to undetectable levels, a higher risk of viral load increasing to detectable if it has fallen to undetectable, a higher risk of resistance, a fall in CD4 cell count and a greater risk of becoming ill.

Most people now take their anti-HIV drugs either once or twice a day. So if you are taking your treatment once a day, taking 95% of your doses means missing, or taking incorrectly, only one dose a month.

If you are taking your treatment twice a day, taking 95% of your doses means missing, or taking incorrectly, only three doses a month.

Some people will still need to take their HIV drugs more frequently than this. If you are taking your medication three times a day, 95% adherence means missing, or taking incorrectly, only four doses a month.

High levels of adherence can be very hard, and necessary HIV-drug adherence levels are much higher than the level needed for other medication. Nevertheless, try to take all your doses. Remember, any fall in drug levels in your blood will give an opportunity for strains of HIV to develop that your drugs don’t work against.

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 It may have been superseded by more recent developments.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.