Sports Dieticians consultant
Antiretroviral therapy helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and reduces the risk of HIV transmission. But sometimes it can cause side effects ranging from mild to severe. On World AIDS Day today, team nutritionist discusses the management in detail.

HIV drugs and their negative effects

Although the world has made significant progress in recent decades, HIV remains a major public health issue that affects millions of people worldwide.

AIDS Treatment

At this time, there is no cure for AIDS, but medications are effective in fighting HIV and its complications. Treatments are designed to reduce HIV in your body, keep your immune system as healthy as possible and decrease the complications you may develop.

You and your doctor will work together to develop a treatment plan that best meets your needs. Three main factors will be considered when designing your treatment plan:

Some of the drugs approved by the FDA for treating HIV and AIDS are Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI), Protease inhibitors (PI), Fusion Inhibitors, Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART), and Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTI).

Does HIV or AIDS medication cause side effects?

HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission. But HIV medicines can sometimes cause side effects. Most side effects from HIV medicines are manageable, but a few can be serious.  In addition, newer HIV medicines cause fewer side effects than medicines used in the past. As HIV treatment continues to improve, people are less likely to have side effects from HIV medicines.

The most common side effects are:

However, certain severe side effects have been reported, including:

Do all HIV or AIDS medicines cause the same side effects?

Different HIV medicines can cause different side effects. In addition, people taking the same HIV medicine can have different side effects.

Side effects from HIV medicines may last only a few days or weeks. For example, nausea, fatigue, and trouble sleeping are some short-term side effects of HIV medicines.

Other side effects from some HIV medicines can lead to problems that may not appear for months or years after starting a medicine. For example, high cholesterol can be a side effect of some HIV medicines.

Having another medical condition or taking other medicines can increase the risk of side effects from HIV medicines. Drug-drug interactions between HIV medicines or with other medicines a person is taking can also cause side effects.

How to manage the side effects of HIV/ AIDS medications?

Talk to your health care provider about possible side effects.

In some cases, it may be necessary to change HIV medicines because of a side effect. However, do NOT cut down on, skip, or stop taking your HIV medicines unless your doctor tells you to.

Authored by Janvi Dhanak, Clinical & Sports Nutritionist, Mind Your Fitness!

One Response

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