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HIV/AIDS

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What if your treatment isn't working?

for Veterans and the Public

What if your treatment isn't working?

Sometimes the HIV medications don't work. This may occur because the drugs don't completely stop the virus from reproducing. As the virus makes copies of itself, changes (or mutations) sometimes occur. These changes may result in a new strain of the virus that is resistant to the action of the drugs. Sometimes, your provider can do a blood test (called a resistance test, genotype, or phenotype) that can help show which drugs the virus has become resistant to. This can help identify other drugs that might still work against your virus.

Even if a virus is resistant to most or all available drugs (this is very rare), some people can still stay healthy by continuing to take a combination of drugs. Therefore, you should discuss the situation with your doctor rather than just stop taking your medications.

If a person has a strain of HIV that is resistant to most or all available drugs, that person may want to consider joining a clinical trial that is testing new drugs that have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). See Clinical Trials.