If you have been living with HIV for a while or just recently discovered that you are positive, the sooner you start treatment and stay on it, the better. Here’s why EARLY TREATMENT = HEALTHIER LIFE:
• Today, it’s widely accepted that you should start taking ARVs as soon as you learn that you are HIV positive.
• Even if you don’t feel sick or have any symptoms the virus may be quietly causing havoc in your body.
• Treating HIV with ARV medication immediately, before the virus gets out of control, will result in better general health and longterm health outcomes.
• ARVs stop HIV from affecting your immune system and reduce the risk of you getting other opportunistic infections.
• ARVs reduce the amount of HIV in your body, known as ‘viral load suppression’. When this happens, HIV cannot harm you, which means a better quality of life.
• When virally suppressed, the virus can become undetectable (there is so little of it left that doctors can’t find it in your body) and chances are extremely low of you infecting your sexual partner/s!
• This is known as U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable). It means that someone with an undetectable HIV viral load who takes ARVs correctly and is regularly monitored by his health care professional – cannot transmit HIV, even when not using condoms.
• If you stop taking ARVs or don’t take it correctly, the HIV will start to replicate and get out of control, affecting your health and making you more likely to pass it on to others. You also risk the virus becoming resistant to treatment in the future.
So, it’s simple – don’t let HIV get you down and fight back! Start ARVs as soon as possible if you are positive – and stay on them.
For free HIV treatment and management in Tshwane for men who have sex with men, call TEN81 in Hatfield, Pretoria on 012 430 3272 / 066 190 5812.