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Staying on track with your HIV treatment.

When you have HIV, you should start antiretroviral treatment (ART) as soon as possible. You need ART to stop the HIV virus from making copies of itself. If you take it right, your ART should drop your virus levels. It can drop your levels so low that lab tests often don’t find any in your blood (undetectable). That doesn’t mean you’re cured. But with very low levels of the virus your immune system stays stronger. This helps keep you from getting infections, developing AIDS or spreading HIV to others

It can be hard to manage your medications and keep everything organized. But it’s important to make sure you take them correctly. If you don’t stick to your medication schedule, the virus may become resistant. That means that one or more of your medications won’t work against the virus anymore.

As you get older you may need to take more medications  ̶  for example, blood pressure, cholesterol-lowering medications. It’s important to take all medications as your doctor or pharmacist tells you. That means taking them at the right dose and at the right time. Also, make sure you tell each of your health care providers about all the medications you’re taking. This includes other prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and supplements.

Medications only work if you take them right. That means the right dose of the right medication at the right time.

Sticking to your treatment plan means that you:

  • Know what each medication is for and why it’s important.
  • Know the right number of pills to take. And know the right number of times to take them each day. This may be confusing if you take some pills twice a day, some three times a day, etc. But it’s important to have a system that helps you stay on track. 
  • Take your pills the right number of hours apart. This helps keep a good level of medication in your blood at all times. Medication you take three times a day should be taken about eight hours apart. For example, you could take it at 8 a.m., 4 p.m. and midnight. A medication you take twice a day should be taken about 12 hours apart. For example, you could take it at 8 a.m. and again at 8 p.m.
  • Know if your medication needs to be taken with or without food. For example, you should take some medications when you eat. Others may work best when your stomach is empty. That usually means taking them one or two hours before or after you eat.
  • Get your dose of injectable medication within seven days of your target date.
  • Refill your prescriptions before you run out.

Check out the CVS Specialty® app. It can help you manage your medications and stay on track.

CVS Specialty can help you stay on track and get the most from your HIV treatment plan. This includes managing side effects. Call us at 1-800-237-2767 to talk to a pharmacist or nurse specially trained in caring for HIV and sexual health.

This information is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about your medical condition and prior to starting any new treatment. CVS Specialty assumes no liability whatsoever for the information provided or for any diagnosis or treatment made as a result, nor is it responsible for the reliability of the content.

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