Skip to content

    HIV & AIDS Health Center

    Step 1 of 6
    Action Set
    HIV: Taking Antiretroviral Drugs

    Taking antiretroviral drugs for HIV will not cure your infection. But it may allow you to stay healthy for a long time. And treatment can help prevent spreading the infection to other people.

    Your willingness and ability to follow your antiretroviral therapy schedule exactly as prescribed is essential for successful treatment of your HIV infection. Not following your prescribed HIV therapy may cause treatment failures, such as:

    • Drug resistance. The virus that causes HIV can become resistant to antiretroviral drugs used to treat the infection.
    • Higher viral loads. This measures how much HIV is present in your blood.
    • Disease progression.

    In the past a person had to take many pills several times a day, which was hard for some people. But over the past few years, this routine has become much simpler, and people take their medicine only once or twice a day. With the right knowledge and tools, you can successfully take your medicine as prescribed.

    If you are at high risk for getting infected with HIV, you also may take antiretroviral medicine to help protect yourself from HIV infection.1 But to keep your risk low, you still need to practice safer sex even while you are taking the medicine.

    how.gif  How can you take your antiretroviral therapy drugs as prescribed?


    1. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Preexposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention in the United States – 2014: A clinical practice guideline. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed July 27, 2014.

    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
    Specialist Medical ReviewerPeter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine

    Current as ofAugust 12, 2014

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

    Today on WebMD

    How much do you know?
    contemplative man
    What to do now.
    Should you be tested?
    HIV under microscope
    What does it mean?
    HIV AIDS Screening
    man opening condom wrapper
    HIV AIDS Treatment
    Discrimination Stigma
    Treatment Side Effects
    grilled chicken and vegetables
    obese man standing on scale
    cold sore