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FAQ: If you change to new HIV medicines (ARVs), can you go back to the old ones in the future?

for Veterans and the Public

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: If you change to new HIV medicines (ARVs), can you go back to the old ones in the future?

The quick answer is that it depends on why the change was made and whether your virus is resistant (or becomes resistant) to those ARVs.

If your HIV viral load is suppressed (ideally "undetectable") on your old ARVs and you change to new ones, or a new ARV is substituted for one in your old regimen, there is little or no risk of your virus developing new resistance to the drugs, so long as the new ARVs are as "strong" (as potent against the strains of HIV in your body) as the old ones. So, if you develop side effects on the new meds, you theoretically could return to the old ones. (Note that this answer assumes that your provider is knowledgeable about ARVs and selects your medications carefully.)