Adherence for Yourself
I have been living with HIV for over 9 years and even though I have said this many times, I want to stress again the importance of starting medication if you are living with HIV. I understand that there will be people who are at the early stages of their diagnosis, as well as those who may be living with HIV for a very long time.
Not everyone will be on the same stage of understanding the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of starting treatment. It took myself some time to fully accept the fact that I needed to take a pill a day, but you can get through it.
One major reason for starting treatment is to ensure that you are living as healthy as possible. Taking antiretroviral therapy allows your immune system to recover and suppresses the virus in your body.
When the immune system is stronger, you can live a longer and healthier life. Taking ownership of your health can also improve the longevity of your life if you are living with HIV. There is a higher life expectancy if you are taking medication to reduce your viral level.
How much did your doctor tell you about HIV when you were diagnosed?
A pill a day
Starting on antiretroviral therapy also increases prevention and reduces transmission rates. ART can play a vital role in preventing transmission among other people in the community.
If you are taking your medication effectively, you can reduce the amount of virus that is in your blood. There are so many advancements with medications now, then in the past. Individuals are now able to take one pill a day to stay healthy.
It is your main goal to learn and educate yourself on what it means to be living with HIV, and make sure to ask all the questions you can to your medical provider. I feel that many people living with HIV are afraid to ask questions in fear that the other person might judge them.
The journey of self-discovery starts here
Whenever I hear that someone is on ART therapy, it makes me think of how strong and confident they are to take the next step in their diagnosis. Someone who is ready to take medication is on a journey of self-discovery, and ready to start the acceptance of their HIV status.
Even if you are not ready to accept your diagnosis fully, you should still start the process of getting on medication, or learning more about medication options.
When I was on medication and undetectable, I felt as if I was on the right path towards a healthier me.
From surviving to thriving
If you are newly diagnosed or living with HIV and not on medication, you should start medication for no one other than yourself. Take a long and hard look at yourself, and who you want to be in the future.
Learning to accept one pill a day can lead to a long and healthy life where you are thriving. Once you are thriving, there will be nothing that can stop you or your confidence. Also, do not forget to ask questions or seek advise from those who may have felt what you are feeling now.
Have you ever been unhoused or insecurely housed?