People diagnosed with HIV today have dozens of treatment options, including some medications you take only once a day.
Start treatment early. People are able to best maintain their health the sooner they start HIV medications after being diagnosed. The sooner you start taking medications, the sooner you’ll be able to get your viral load down to undetectable levels. In San Francisco, providers aim to get people started on HIV medications the very same day that they’re diagnosed.
The key to treating HIV is adherence. Take your meds every day, as prescribed, to keep the virus suppressed. Missing doses or stopping treatment can allow HIV to become "drug resistant," meaning certain medications no longer keep the virus in check.
Finding a treatment regimen that is right for you—and learning ways to stick with it—can help you live long and well with HIV. Here’s a roadmap for your HIV treatment journey:
As soon as you test positive, the first thing to do–even if you don’t feel sick–is find a medical provider who is has plenty of experience treating HIV.
The emotional and physical challenges ahead can be difficult; it’s important to have supportive people around to help you face them. We offer a variety of counseling and support groups for HIV-positive people, including Positive Force, a program providing 1:1 peer counseling and social events for gay, bisexual, and transgender men in the San Francisco Bay Area. Strut is the new home for health and wellness in San Francisco with education, community and wellness groups and events. Visit www.StrutSF.org for more information.
An essential part of staying healthy (and protecting others) is learning about HIV and its treatment. That's why we publish BETA Blog. From tips on talking with your provider to the latest word on HIV meds, BETA Blog can help you stay on top of your HIV health.
Gay, bi, and trans guys in the Bay Area can participate in PLUS, a weekend-long workshop for those newly dealing with an HIV diagnosis, and other educational events offered by our Positive Force program.
With treatment and regular medical care, HIV today is a manageable disease. In fact, recent studies say HIV-positive people can have normal life spans with effective treatment that keeps their immune systems healthy. Take advantage of the resources listed above, and take care of yourself!
News and commentary on HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and policy.