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Can I take a break from taking HIV meds?

Dr. Leandro: Here’s someone asking, I have HIV, I’m not feeling sick, and I’m tired of taking pills. Can I take a break?
Dr. Demetre: You have some questions? We know HIV.
Dr. David: I’m a doctor. I’m trained for this.
Dr. Leandro: We’re gonna give you what you need. HIV medications are suppressing the virus that is in your body and they’re going to make sure that you never develop any kind of symptoms. So it’s really important for people taking medication to continue taking that medication. If you stop taking your medication on your own sometimes the virus can actually become resistant to the medications that you were taking. If you really feel that you have to stop taking medications you talk to your doctor and it’s better if it’s done with the supervision of your doctor. But in general we don’t recommend people who are taking HIV medications to stop taking that medication because sometimes the immune system can actually deteriorate, and even when you start medications again, that immune system will never go back to whatever it was. And of course, even stopping your medication should not mean that you stop going to your doctor to make sure that they continue to monitor your CD4 count and your viral load.

Considering a vacation from your HIV meds? Dr. Leandro explains why you should always talk with your doc BEFORE taking a break or stopping your HIV treatment.

To get the full health and preventive benefits of antiretrovirals (ARVs), it is important that an individual with HIV stays connected to medical care and continues to take their medications as prescribed.

Click here to lean more about the benefits of HIV treatment. 


#AskTheHIVDoc is a video series from Greater Than HIV featuring top HIV doctors providing answers to commonly-asked questions about HIV prevention, testing and treatment.

This information is shared for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at time of filming. Always consult a health care provider for any personal health decision.

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