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Today’s medicines are helping people live healthy with HIV. While there’s no cure, there are powerful treatments that work quickly to fight and suppress the virus. When taken as prescribed, these treatments can lower the amount of virus in the blood to levels that are undetectable. That’s when the amount is so low it can't be measured in a lab test.
We've come a long way, but the fight isn't over yet. Here are some considerations to bring up with your healthcare provider when discussing your HIV-1 treatment options.
Don’t wait. Talk to your healthcare provider as soon as possible after diagnosis. Some people are able to start treatment the same day they are diagnosed. Regardless of your viral load, starting treatment quickly can help you get to undetectable, which helps increase the number of CD4 T-cells and lower your risk of developing AIDS.
It’s important to take your treatment every day, so you can get to undetectable and stay there. Undetectable means the amount of virus in the blood is so low that it can’t be measured by a test. And even when you’re undetectable, it’s important to keep taking your HIV treatment as prescribed so it can keep fighting the virus to prevent drug resistance. Drug resistance can happen when the virus changes in a way that makes some HIV treatments no longer effective.
Reaching undetectable can help you live a healthy life with HIV-1. And when you stay undetectable, there is effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the HIV-1 virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That means you can be part of ending the epidemic by preventing the virus from being passed to others.
Two of the most important goals of treatment are getting to and staying undetectable. It’s also important to focus on practicing healthy behaviors. Talk with your healthcare provider about how you can add the following behaviors into your life.
Take care ofyour mental health
Avoid substanceuse and abuse
Establish andmaintain a healthy diet
Start anexercise program