Resource Round-Up: Keeping Up With Your Meds
Taking your HIV medications daily is essential to strengthening and maintaining your immune system, keeping the virus in check, and avoiding the development of drug-resistance mutations that can render your current treatment regimen ineffective.
But for many reasons—including unwanted side-effects, financial difficulties, hectic schedules, and plain old forgetfulness—taking antiretroviral pills every day can be a challenge.
In addition to talking frankly with your medical provider and pharmacist about any trouble you might have keeping up with your meds, you can take advantage of these online resources designed to help with adherence and keep you living well with HIV.
- TheBody.com’s Resource Center on Keeping Up With Your HIV Meds offers a wealth of videos, personal stories, articles, fact sheets, and tips for better adherence and better HIV health. There’s something for everyone in this comprehensive resource center.
- The Well Project’s adherence page explains why it’s critical to take your meds on time and shares practical tips for improving adherence. For example, time your pill-taking to coincide with a daily activity, like walking your dog: “When it’s time to do that activity, you will know that it is also time to take your pills.”
- AIDSinfo’s Treatment Adherence fact sheet outlines key reasons why adherence can be a challenge and suggests medical and personal issues (such as drug side effects or depression) to discuss with your care provider so you can head off adherence problems before they hurt your health.
- At the 7th International Conference on HIV Prevention and Treatment Adherence, held last June in Miami, clinicians and researchers presented data and lessons learned from studies and clinical practice—and their presentation slides are available to you online.
- Finally, check out clinical pharmacist Jennifer Cocohoba’s excellent article, “Making Sense of Side Effects,” in the BETA archive for tried-and-true adherence strategies gleaned from her work providing adherence support to clients at the UCSF Women’s HIV Program.
These online resources can help you keep on track with your treatment regimen—but don’t underestimate the power of your own attitude toward your meds. In addition to sharing terrific tips on remembering to take your medications, Dr. Cocohoba’s article recommends exploring your mindset about taking antiretroviral drugs: “The pills or injections may at first seem like an unwelcome reminder of your virus, but those medicines also show that you are working to beat that virus and manage your own health.” Click here to read the full article and learn new ways to keep up with your HIV meds.
Reilly O’Neal is a freelance writer and former editor of BETA.