April 15, 2010

April 15, 2010
More Adherence

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Thursday and it is also the last day to file your taxes! So if you have not mailed in your tax return make sure to get it in today. I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. Today is another beautiful day here in south Florida.

Luckily, I have a light schedule today. So I am taking advantage of it and enjoying time with my dogs by taking them for long walks and spending time with them. I even got in a light ab workout in today. I am still going very easy on exercising since I just started back four months after my last stroke.

This evening, I will hopefully feel like attending an event at Fusion. Mario does such a great job at Fusion and it is always enjoyable seeing everyone there. Tonight is movie night but I have not checked to see what move they will be showing yet.

Yesterday, I started talking about adherence which I would like to continue today.

How many doses of your medication do you need to take?

The best results of HIV treatment are seen in people who take all, or nearly all of the doses of their drugs in the right way.

Modern HIV treatment has a very powerful anti-HIV effect, but nevertheless taking fewer than 95% of your doses correctly has been associated with an increase in viral load, a fall in CD4 cell count, and an increased risk of resistance.

What does this mean in practice?

If you take your treatment once a day, then 95% adherence means missing no more than one dose of your HIV treatment a month.

If you take your treatment twice a day, then 95% adherence means missing no more than three doses of your HIV treatment a month.

Many people find this demanding and do not always achieve such high levels of adherence. Despite the difficulty, it is important to aim to take all the doses of your medication correctly, and many people find a way of making sure that they take their HIV treatment in the right way and at the right time.

What should you do if you miss a dose?

You should try and make an effort to take every dose of your medication at the right time and in the right way. But most people taking HIV treatment occasionally forget to take a dose of their treatment.

What you should do about missed doses will depend on circumstances. You should still take the dose if you remember within a few hours. But do not take your medicine if it would mean taking the dose very late. It is a good idea to discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist, as how late you can take a dose will vary, depending on the drugs you are taking. You should not take a double dose to compensate for the one you have missed.

It is important to remember that taking doses late can be as bad as not taking them at all.

If you are regularly missing doses of your medication, or taking them late, it is a good idea to mention this to your doctor. Your clinic should be able to offer advice and support.

Helping you to take your HIV treatment properly

A wide range of factors can have an influence on how well you adhere to your HIV treatment. These differ between people and can change over time. This means that there is no single magic solution that can guarantee the best possible adherence for everyone.

Instead, it is important to think about the factors that are likely to affect you. Doing this can be beneficial if you are about to start or change treatment, or if you are having problems taking your treatment properly.

Tomorrow, I will continue this series on adherence and resistance. Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab