Do your homework. is a great place to start. So is having that open and honest conversation with your provider about what you’re looking for in a treatment regimen. Powerful efficacy? No side effects? Ease of dosing? Options—including the first long-acting injectable—abound.

Don’t fear expressing your fear. Starting treatment you may be on for a lifetime is a big deal. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive. Take all those anxieties and concerns to your provider’s visit and put them on the table. If your provider is any good (most are), they’ll listen compassionately and help you talk through a treatment plan you can live with.

Be ruthlessly honest. Are you having a hard time sticking to your dosing due to side effects, depression, alcohol or drug use or any reason at all, including simply forgetting? Don’t be ashamed. Many of us have struggled with this. Tell your provider ASAP so that together, you can figure it out.

Know you’re not alone. More than 1 million Americans are living with HIV, meaning that there’s a lot of peer support out there for you to tap into. Start by going to POZ Forums. Countless folks who’ve been living with HIV for years are just waiting to give you feedback, but remember to talk with your provider before making any treatment decisions. Facebook also has great groups to join. You don’t have to take this journey solo!