Why is HIV treatment important?
Without treatment, your immune system can become too weak to fight off serious illnesses and you can become sick with life-threatening infections. Some benefits of successful treatment include:
- Keeping the virus at low levels to protect your body from the ongoing effects of infection and immune system activation (note: this also helps prevent the further spread of HIV in the community);
- Strengthening your immune system so you can better fight off infections; and
- Slowing down disease progression.
Once you start treatment, it is very important that you take your medications every day as prescribed in order for the treatment to work. This is known as adherence. There are resources available to help you remain adherent to your medication. Talk to your health care provider for more information.
CATIE’s Guide for People Living with HIV provides more information about treatment, as well as the pros and cons of HIV treatment.
If you need help finding a health care provider, the Positive Living Society of BC provides a registry of health care providers and services who provide care and treatment to individuals living with HIV. You can also contact the Island Health Communicable Disease Program in your area for assistance.
What are my HIV treatment options?
There are many drugs, strategies, and combinations of HIV drugs available (HIV drugs are known as highly active antiretroviral therapy [HAART]). Some options are more common than others; however, it is important to work with your health care provider to determine what options will work best for you.
How much does HIV treatment cost?
HIV treatment for HIV positive clients living in BC is paid for by the BC.