Frequently asked questions about ARVs

By October 27, 2017HIV / AIDS

Can ARV’s cure HIV?

  • No, ARV’s can decrease the viral load (the amount of virus in the bloodstream), but they are not a cure.
  • Even if the viral load on a blood test is so low that it’s “undetectable”, the virus is not gone.

How can a doctor tell if the ARV’s are working?

  • The viral load should go down and the CD4 count should go up.

What happens if I miss a dose of ARV’s?

  • Take the medication as soon as you can and take the next dose at the scheduled time (except if the drug may have daytime side effects, in which case you should check with your doctor.)

Where can I go to receive ARV treatment?

  • You can go to your nearest primary health clinic or doctor. If necessary, you will be referred to the nearest HIV treatment site
  • The National AIDS Helpline: 0800 012 322
  • HIV 911: 0860 448 911

Can I take a break from ARVs (like a ‘drug holiday’)?

  • No! Breaks in treatment can cause the HIV to become resistant, and stop the ARVs from working!

If you change to a new ARV, can you go back to the old ones in the future?

  • The decision will depend on why the change was made in the first place and if the virus is resistant to those ARV’s or not.
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