Keeping HIV under control
HIV is incurable but you can keep it under control with medicines. If you have HIV and quickly take the right medicines, you can lead a normal life. You will not get AIDS and you can even live as long as someone without HIV.
There are many different medicines you can take. This is usually a combination of several pills. The doctor decides with you which are the best medicines for you.
HIV medicines can have side-effects. Talk to a doctor about these. Usually, the side-effects can be treated. Do not change the amount and do not stop taking your medicine.
Taking medicines strictly as prescribed
The medicines only work if you take them exactly the way the doctor tells you to.
- You always take the right amount of the medicines;
- You take the medicines every day;
- You always take the medicines at the same time of day;
- You always take the medicines in the right way, depending on the medicines that you are prescribed. For instance: with or without food.
- Never stop taking your medicines without talking to a doctor. The treatment may stop temporarily and have a reduced effect.
No longer any risk of infection
If you take your medicines correctly every day, the amount of HIV in your blood (viral load) will reduce. After a few months, it can often no longer be traced, though the virus is still in your body. There is then almost no risk that you will infect someone else.
HIV in a steady relationship
Under certain conditions, it is possible for you to have sex without a condom with your steady partner (steady relationship) who does not have HIV:
- If you take your HIV medicines correctly every day, and
- If, for at least 6 months, your viral load can no longer be detected, and
- If your viral load was checked less than 6 months ago;
- If you and your partner have no other STI and the mucous membrane of your mouth, anus, penis or vagina is not damaged.
Talk to a doctor and your partner if you want to have sex without a condom.
Talking to a doctor
You can freely talk to a doctor. A doctor cannot give any information about you to anybody else. He/she is obliged by law to respect your privacy.