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Switch On Your HIV Smarts.

Making Sense of Side Effects

, by San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Thanks to better antiretroviral treatment options—and to the advocates and researchers who pushed for them—people with HIV are living longer, healthier lives. But those lifesaving drugs aren’t without their downsides. In this article from the BETA archive, clinical pharmacist Jennifer Cocohoba tells you what you need to know about HIV medication side effects—and how to prevent or manage them.

[Editor's note: Since this article first appeared in late 2011, the United States treatment guidelines have been updated and now recommend that everyone diagnosed with HIV begin antiretroviral treatment, even those with higher CD4 cell counts (a key indicator of immune system health). The guidelines do acknowledge, however, that the decision to start anti-HIV meds "should always include consideration of other [health] conditions” as well as “the willingness and readiness” of the HIV-positive individual.]

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