New HIV Medicine
New HIV Medicine
Brett Grodeck (Author, The First Year - HIV) gives expert video advice on: What new HIV medicines should I ask my doctor about? and more...
What is the goal of taking HIV medicine?
You have your immune system and the virus, and as you take HIV medication the HIV virus levels begin to drop and your T-cell levels begin to go up. The goal of HIV treatment is to reach "undetectable" and that's when the level of HIV is so low in your blood that the blood tests can't pick it up. It doesn't mean the HIV is not there: it just means that it's undetectable. That's the goal of HIV treatment.
What new HIV medicines should I ask my doctor about?
For people who are newly diagnosed with HIV, there are several preferred treatments. There are actually two preferred HIV treatments. Within those guidelines there is one HIV pill that is taken once a day that fit those preferred regiments. That HIV pill is called Atripla and it contains three different ingredients in one pill that is taken once a day. The best HIV medicine has proven itself over time, it has the fewest side effects and the most effectiveness. Studies and trials have been conducted in the past 20 years, all of this leading to a handful of very good drugs to treat HIV. The first time people receive drugs or medication for HIV, this is called first line treatment. I think Atripla is both an effective and convenient to take drug medication for people who are newly diagnosed for first line. I think anyone who is newly diagnosed should first ask their doctor about that particular medication.
Why are the new HIV medicines better?
What they're finding now, in 2007, is that many of the early HIV drugs were hard on the system. They were given at incorrect doses. The side affects took years to discover. Over the course of fifteen years of HIV medicine, what we have learned now is that there are a few that have the least amount of side affects, with the most amount or effectiveness. I think it's important to know that you are taking a drug that has the least amount or side effects with the most amount of benefit, and is also convenient to take, because having taking HIV medicine for over fifteen years can interfere with your life if it is complicated. That is why I think that the HIV drugs in 2007 are so much better than they were even five years ago.
How will the new HIV medications help me be adherent?
The great thing about HIV treatment is that it has gotten far more convenient to take. There was a time in the past when it was very common for people with HIV to have to take medicine twice or three times a day, sometimes with food restrictions, sometimes on an empty stomach, sometimes on a full stomach. Today in 2007, being adherent, or being better than 95% adherent to HIV treatment, is extremely easy.