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HIV/AIDS

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Sticking to your medicines (adherence)

for Veterans and the Public

Sticking to Your Medicines (Adherence)

"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 provider'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, your treatment may not work, and the HIV virus may become resistant to the medicines.

Before you start a treatment plan, you should:

  • Get your health care provider to write everything down for you: names of the drugs, what they look like, how to take them (for example, with food or not, with other medications or not), and how often to take them. This way, you'll have something to look at in case you forget what you're supposed to do.
  • With your provider's help, develop a plan that works for you.

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.