If you test positive for HIV, getting on treatment is the best thing you can do for your health.
Without treatment you run the risk of developing life threatening AIDS related illnesses.
As well as this, treating early can assist in getting your viral load down to an undetectable level sooner – significantly reducing the risk that you will pass HIV on to others during condomless sex.
In New Zealand, you have the right to access treatment for HIV, no matter how long you have been living here for, or whether or not you plan to stay here long term.
Five basic facts about HIV treatment
There’s lots to learn about HIV treatment. Your HIV doctor, nurse and other people living with HIV are all important sources of information about HIV treatment. The Body Positive website is also a good local site for information about HIV medications.
To get you started, here’s five basic facts about HIV treatment:
- Number One: HIV treatments these days are mostly one or two pills that you take at the same time each day.
- Number Two: HIV treatments still have side effects, but these vary a lot from person to person. Most people are able to adjust to their medication with support from their doctor.
- Number Three: The longer you go without treatment the bigger the chance HIV has to damage your immune system. If you don’t get on treatment you run the risk of AIDS, and other conditions like cancer and liver disease.
- Number Four: HIV treatments are very effective at controlling the virus. If you take HIV treatments as prescribed, there is a good chance that you will be able to obtain and sustain an undetectable viral load.
- Number Five: Access to treatment in New Zealand is subsidised by the government. This means treatment is very cheap, or free, if you are on a low income.
When do I start treatment?
The latest research shows that going on treatment soon after a diagnoses of HIV is the best way to reduce the amount of harm the virus does to your immune system. It also helps protect you against long term health complications as a result of living with HIV.