How ART works
The treatment for HIV is called antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART involves taking a combination of HIV medicines (called an HIV treatment regimen) every day. ART is recommended for everyone who is living with HIV. People diagnosed with HIV should start taking ART as soon as possible. ART cannot cure HIV, but help people living with HIV live longer, healthier lives. ART also reduces the risk of HIV transmission.
Get ready for ART
Do I need ART?
You should take ART if you have ever tested positive for HIV and received an HIV diagnosis from a health provider. If this sounds like you but you have not started ART yet, or have stopped taking it, remember that starting ART as early as possible and taking it consistently ensures that you stay healthy and live longer.
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How ART works
HIV attacks and destroys the immune system’s infection-fighting CD4 cells, which makes it hard for the body to fight off infections.
Antiretroviral therapy (or ART) prevents HIV from multiplying (making copies of itself), which reduces the amount of HIV in the body (called the viral load). Having less HIV in the body gives the immune system a chance to recover and produce more CD4 cells.
This makes the immune system strong enough to fight off infections and health complications.
ART makes a difference
Viral load is the term used to describe the amount of HIV in your blood. ART treatment’s goal is to reduce a person’s viral load to an undetectable level. People with HIV who maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to HIV-negative partners through sex.
ART cannot cure HIV, but it enables people living with HIV to live longer, healthier lives, and reduces the risk of HIV transmission.
Precautions to follow:
A few precautions and habits can go a long way to living a healthy life with HIV. These include:
ART should be continued for life and should be taken regularly as instructed by the doctor/physician
Use condoms correctly and consistently, to prevent other STIs
Take a balanced diet and live an active lifestyle
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