Even though you have HIV, HIV doesn’t have you. You’re still you.
HIV doesn’t change who you are. And treatment shouldn’t either.
HIV doesn’t have to change your whole life. But your routine may start to look a little different—especially when you start treatment. And the latest medical guidelines recommend starting treatment as soon as possible. Because starting and staying on treatment can help you live a longer and healthier life.
The START Study followed more than 4,600 people living with HIV. The study looked at the health of each patient over the course of about three years. Some people started treatment right away and some waited.
Those who started treatment right away were healthier than those who waited. The group that started treatment immediately had a lower chance of developing AIDS, tuberculosis, or certain cancers.
Being undetectable means that there is so little virus in your blood that it can’t be measured by a test. How do you get to undetectable? HIV treatment.
When you are undetectable, there is less virus causing damage in your body. And being undetectable also helps lower the chance of passing HIV to your partners through sex. By more than 90%. (!!!)
But it’s not 100% effective and HIV is still in your body. So condoms and other safer sex practices still matter. There is no cure for HIV, but sticking to treatment and being undetectable can help protect you and your partners.
See how starting, and staying on, treatment can help you become undetectable.
You may be wondering how sex fits into your life now. People living with HIV can have sexual relationships. But it is important to take steps to protect your health and the health of your partners. Here is some helpful information for when you’re ready to take that step:
See how starting, and staying on, treatment can help protect others.
There are a few things about today’s treatments that you may not know. Many are between one and three pills a day. And today’s treatments are less likely to make you feel sick than the first HIV treatments developed.
Check out Help Stop the Virus to find out more about the importance of HIV treatment. Once you’ve done a little more reading, talk to your doctor. You can discuss different treatment options, find one that is right for you, and get answers to any questions you have.
Start with your doctor. He or she can answer questions and offer advice. The more your doctor knows, the more he or she can help you make choices about life on treatment. If you need to make changes, your doctor can help you work through them.
If you prefer to talk to someone on the phone, you can call 1-800-628-92401-800-628-9240 any time (24/7) to talk about issues related to HIV.
And whether you need help with housing, work, or finding someone to talk to, there are other resources available.
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