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Why must you stay on the treatment plan?

for Veterans and the Public

Why must you stay on the treatment plan?

"Adherence" refers to how well you stay on your treatment plan--whether you take your medications exactly as your VA health care provider tells you.

If you follow your doctor's instructions about how to take your medicine, the anti-HIV drugs will work well to lower the amount of virus in your blood. Taking your drugs correctly increases your likelihood of success.

But, if you miss doses, or don't follow a regular schedule, the level of the drug in your body goes up and down. The virus then has the opportunity to make copies of itself more rapidly. That increases your viral load.

Following your treatment schedule also helps to prevent drug resistance. If you miss a dose, the virus may make new and different types of itself that the drug can no longer combat.

It's challenging for some patients to stick to their HIV drug treatment plan. Most plans involve taking several pills every day, and some of the drugs have unpleasant side effects.

Pop question: True or false. Missing doses and not following a regular schedule can lessen the effect of your HIV medication.

Answer: TRUE. Missing doses and not following a regular schedule can lessen the effect of your HIV medication. It is very important that you stay on your treatment plan and follow your doctor's instructions for taking your medicine.