We now know that African HIVers do better at taking HAART than their U.S. counterparts (see “A for Africa,”). Here are some tips to help statesiders catch up:
1.Be mercilessly honest with your doctor about adherence problems—the first step in tailoring your combo to your lifestyle and working out kinks (psychological as well as physical). Find a simpler combo if necessary.
2.Come out as HIV positive to those most involved in your life—housemates, family, spouse, friends, clergy—and enlist their aid in your pill-popping.
3.Get help quitting or cutting down on booze and party drugs. It’s tough to kick them, but there’s no doubt that those habits mess up med-taking in a major way.
4.Let memory motivate you. In Africa, many HIVers have
witnessed the deaths of friends and family, and many long-term U.S. HIVers say they choke down handfuls of pills remembering those who didn’t live long enough to get them.