WHAT IS ADHERENCE?
HIV treatment is a partnership. Just as you rely on your antiretrovirals (ARVs) to be proven safe and effective, your ARVs rely on you to take them correctly and on time-every time, so that they can best protect your health. This is called “treatment adherence.” And while it may sound easy, sometimes it’s not. Though it is “very important”.
By not taking your ARVs properly can allow HIV to mutate and become resistant to the effect of a drug (or combination of drugs), called “drug resistance.” This can cause your meds to stop working properly and limit future treatment options.
What do I need to know to ensure good adherence?
Whether you are selecting a new ARV regimen or currently taking medications, be sure you understand how they’re supposed to be taken. You can ask your doctor or pharmacist the following:
How many pills of each different medicine am I supposed to take at a time?
How many times a day am I supposed to take each medicine, and when do I take them?
Should I take my pills on an empty stomach, or should I take them with food?
Can I take my ARVs with other meds I’m taking? And what about supplements, herbs and over-the-counter medications?
Quick Tips :
Here are tried and true methods to keep you on top of your meds.
Lay out your meds in advance with a weekly or monthly pillbox, or have your meds “prepackaged” for you by your pharmacy.
Portable pillboxes and timers help keep you adherent when you’re on the go.
Some folks prepare for a new HIV regimen by practicing for a week with jellybeans to identify in advance where they might have problems.
4) Put you first
We often lose ourselves in our responsibilities to others, like family or work. Ask for help if they’re causing you to forget doses.
5) Keep 'em handy
Keep your meds close to something you use consistently, like a toothbrush, coffeemaker or your alarm clock.
6) Plan ahead
Ask your doctor in advance what you should do if you realize you’ve forgotten to take a dose.
Last Updated (Thursday, 12 August 2010 07:02)