How will my doctor and I decide whether to start HIV treatment?
Some important factors in deciding whether to start treatment include whether you have advanced HIV disease or HIV symptoms and the results of your viral load test and CD4 (T-cell) count. Other very important factors are your own willingness to begin drug therapy, and the likelihood that you will be willing and able to follow (adhere to) your treatment. Adherence is very important in HIV treatment, because drug resistance often occurs when a patient skips doses or takes a “drug holiday”.
You also must weigh the potential benefits of drug therapy with the potential risks. For example, if you begin drug therapy, you might need to continue it for a long time, possibly for the rest of your life. Even with therapy there is a chance of developing drug resistance. Other potential risks include drug side effects on lifestyle (including the inconvenience of having to take many medications each day). Talk to your doctor about the potential benefits and risks of therapy.