Treatment with anti-HIV drugs can mean that you live a longer and healthier life. Some doctors are now optimistic that, thanks to such treatment, many patients with HIV will live a near-normal lifespan.
To get the most benefit from your treatment you need to take all (or nearly all) of your medicines at the right time and in the right way. Missing just a few doses a month can mean that your treatment doesn’t work properly.
Adherence is the word that’s used to describe taking your treatment properly. It’s the single most important factor under your control that increases the chances of your HIV treatment working well.
Most people will miss a dose from time to time, and this probably won’t make any difference. A recent study has suggested, however, that missing a single dose can be more problematic for people on a once-a-day drug regimen than for those who take the same drug, but twice a day.
Generally, people find it easier to adhere to treatment with fewer doses, but this may not be the best solution for everyone. Some people have greater problems with adherence. New research has found that solving them isn’t always simple. Nevertheless, it makes good sense to tell a member of your HIV healthcare team if you are having problems taking your medication. There’s a lot of help available, and this could make a big difference to the success of your treatment.
In many cases, adherence problems only become apparent when a person’s viral load increases. Therefore researchers are looking at ways to monitor adherence in ‘real time’.
One method uses wireless technology, which sends a message – using mobile phone networks – to a doctor or researcher each time a patient opens their medicine. It’s called WisePill, and a new study showed that it’s a very accurate way of monitoring adherence.
Other methods of wireless adherence monitoring are also being investigated, and it’s hoped that their use will help people to take their medication regularly and on time.
The Friends of AIDS Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for HIV positive individuals and empowering people to make healthy choices to prevent the spread of the HIV virus. To learn more about The Friends of AIDS Foundation, please visit: http://www.friendsofaids.org.
Together We Remain Strong!