Adherence to Antiretroviral Treatment (ART)
If you are living with HIV, one of the biggest lifestyle changes is starting ART and taking treatment for the rest of your life. If you want to stay strong and live a healthy life, you can never stop your treatment. Your body might take some time to adjust to the side-effects of the ARVs, and you will need to remember to always collect your pills in time, so you don't run out, and you have them with you when you need them so you can take your treatment at the same time every day.
What Adherence to ART means
Adherence to Antiretroviral therapy (ART), or taking ARVs exactly as the healthcare worker advises, leads to viral load suppression. This is when ARVs have reduced the amount of HIV in the body so much that it is suppressed and the immune system gets a chance to recover. At this stage, there is so little HIV in the blood that there is less chance of passing it on. Someone living with HIV will also be able to have HIV-negative children by following the correct procedures. Although taking ARVs may be feel like a burden, stick to the treatment. When HIV is suppressed a long, happy, healthy and productive life is achievable.
For ART to be effective it needs to be taken as prescribed by a healthcare worker.