Keeping HIV under control

HIV cannot be cured but it can be kept under control with medicines. If you have HIV and start taking the right medicines early enough, you can lead a normal life, not get AIDS and even live as long as someone without HIV.

There are many different medicines you can take. You often get a combination of several pills. The doctor decides together with you which medicines are best for you.

The medicine for HIV can have side-effects. Talk to a doctor about it. Usually, the side-effects can be treated. Do not change the amount and do not stop taking your medicine.  

Man taking HIV medicines

Taking medicines strictly as prescribed

The medicines only work if you take them exactly the way the doctor tells you to:

  • You always take the right amount of the medicines;
  • You take the medicines every day;
  • You always take the medicines at the same time of day;
  • You always take the medicines in the right way, depending on the type you are being prescribed: with or without food.
  • Never stop taking your medicines without talking to a doctor. Temporarily stopping your treatment can lower the effect.
Doctor showing his patient a prescription

No longer risk of infection

If you take your medicines correctly every day, the amount of HIV in your blood (viral load) lowers. After a few months, it can often no longer be traced, though the virus is still in your body. There is then almost no risk that you will infect someone else.

HIV in a steady relationship

Under certain conditions, it is possible for you to have sex without a condom with your steady partner (steady relationship) who does not have HIV:

  • If you take your medicines correctly every day, and
  • If, for at least 6 months, your viral load can no longer be detected, and
  • If your viral load has been checked less than 6 months ago, and
  • If you have no other STI and the mucous membrane of your mouth, anus, penis or vagina is not damaged.

Talk to a doctor and your partner if you want to have sex without a condom.

Couple talking

Talking to a doctor

You can freely talk to a doctor. A doctor cannot give any information about you to anybody else. He/she is obliged by law to respect your privacy.

Woman talking with a doctor
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