Does Your Treatment Fit?
HIV medicine is racing ahead. This issue of POZ Focus asks what’s in it for you—and provides some tools for getting the measurements right.
The array of meds available now to people with HIV is a far cry from the early days, when AZT monotherapy was the only option. Just take a look at our timeline (on your right) for a reminder of how dramatically treatment has evolved and how much better off we are today. For most people, today’s HIV meds—and those now in development—promise greater quality of life than they might ever have hoped for before.
So it’s par for the course that so many of us are wondering if that’s all there is. We ask ourselves whether there might be something easier to take, more convenient or less inclined to bring on sickening side effects—and many of our doctors are egging us on. Tried and true is nice, they say, but something more recently out of the pipeline might make for better living.
Decisions about changing treatment are still not easy, though. Your goal is to find a regimen that provides the best combination of potency, tolerability and convenience. But who are you to ask for all three? What’s more, figuring out what you can and cannot live with in an HIV cocktail is tricky, because it’s all so personal (two positive guys reflect on the change they made to their HIV combos in “Two Treatment Tales,” on your right).
Nothing in HIV treatment is “one size fits all.” This is partly because the drugs affect each of our bodies differently—but it’s also about our individual priorities. One person dreams of a combo that packs more punch, while another aspires most of all to once-a-day pill popping. And let’s be realistic: Not everyone can afford to give a new combo a try, either because they have resistant virus and fewer treatment options left or because they don’t have top-notch health care coverage.
Now, more than ever, being in charge of your HIV means sorting through your own needs, educating yourself and scouting out your options with the help of your doctor. We hope that the information in this special issue of POZ Focus might help you get that process under way. The second in a three-part series on the evolution of HIV therapy, it’s designed to help you understand how treatment has improved, what that means for you and how you can establish your own personal best.
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