HIV medication – what to know?

Copy of What to know about HIV medication Have you ever wondered how HIV medication works and if there is anything to consider when starting HIV treatment? We have talked to clinical doctor, Jussi Sutinen, who treats people living with HIV in Helsinki.

Once HIV is diagnosed, a resistance test of the virus will be made and after this the doctor will know what kind of HIV medication is best and most effective for the patient. There are many kinds of medication available in Finland! Also when starting HIV-medication, it is important to consider what other medications they might already be on. Even simple medications and health supplements, such as calcium or iron tablets, can interfere with different kinds of HIV medication.

Why taking medication regularly is important?

The biggest job for someone with HIV who is starting treatment is to take the medication regularly. If taken incorrectly, one’s virus can develop resistance to the medication. So even though there are many HIV medicines, there is a chance that if the HIV virus develops resistance to one medicine, the virus can also become resistant to other medicines that are closely related to it.

Therefore, it is important to take medication regularly. In order to keep the virus from becoming resistant to your medication, the drug level in the blood should always be above a certain value and if medication is not taken regularly, this level will drop, and the virus has a bigger chance of developing resistance.

How to remember to take the medication regularly?

To remember to take the medication every day, or as often as the doctor has prescribed, there are a few things that can help. Taking the pill at the same time every day is important and setting an alarm on your phone can help a lot. It might be easier to get into the habit of taking medication if a routine is created. It is also good to carry a few extra tablets when you go out! Another good advice is to buy a pillbox with 7 rooms, one for each day of the week. This way you will minimize the risk of forgetting  and you can always double-check that today’s pills have disappeared from the pillbox and it is easy to carry.

More information and educational videos

You can visit this site from Terveyskylä that has a lot of educational videos in English on HIV.  There are videos about how HIV medication can interfere with other medicines, if there are specific eating requirements while on HIV medication, side effects, taking HIV medication while travelling and many other important topics.