Using HIV medication can not only transform the lives of those living with HIV but it is also vital for ending stigma against HIV infected people. Once you have received an HIV diagnosis you will need to get and take your HIV medication.
5 steps for HIV success
- S = STATUS, know your status, get tested.
- T = TREATMENT, start treatment it’s free and easily available
- E = ENSURE, take your medication on time every day
- P = POSITIVE LIFE CHOICES, unhealthy decisions will impact you.
- S = SUCCESS, enjoy life and don’t be ruled by your diagnosis & remain undetectable.
What is ART and how do I use it?
Whether you have recently found out you have HIV or have known for a while, you may have questions about starting HIV treatment. You may have heard about anti-retroviral treatment (ART) – or know someone else who is taking it. Anti-retroviral treatments are the drugs that treat HIV. Many people living with HIV are taking treatment and staying healthy as a result.
If you find out you have HIV, it’s recommended that you start anti-retroviral treatment asap. Taking treatment as prescribed keeps you healthy and reduces your chances of passing HIV on to others.
ARV’s works by keeping the level of HIV in your body low (your viral load) which allows your immune system recover and stay strong. With good healthcare and treatment, many people with HIV are living just as long as people who don’t have HIV. You can continue to have relationships, to work or study, to make plans, to have a family – whatever you would have done before your HIV diagnosis.
What PreP and how do I use it?PreP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP provides an additional prevention option for those who are at high risk for HIV. It’s an ARV drug in the form of a tablet and it’s for HIV-negative people. It needs to be taken daily to significantly reduce the chances of becoming HIV positive.
PreP medication can reduce the chance of a negative HIV positive person by more than 90%.
The government in South Africa is looking at rolling out PreP and discussions have been taking place as to which groups should be targeted. However by targeting specific groups we are at risk of stigmatising those groups and stigma is already playing a huge role in the high rate of new infections.