Sticking to my treatment plan is hard. How can I deal with the challenges?

What if my treatment is not working?
March 19, 2021
Talk to your health care provider about problems taking your HIV medicine.
March 19, 2021

Sticking to my treatment plan is hard. How can I deal with the challenges?

Tell your health care provider right away if you’re having trouble sticking to your plan. Together you can identify the reasons you’re skipping medications and make a plan to address those reasons.

Talk to your health care provider about problems taking your HIV medicine.

  • Problems taking pills. This can make staying on treatment challenging. Your health care provider can offer tips and ideas for addressing these problems.
  • Side effects from medicine. Nausea or diarrhea can make a person not want to take their pills. There are medicines or other support, like nutritional counseling to make sure you’re getting important nutrients. This can help with the most common side effects.
  • Treatment fatigue.Some people find that sticking to their treatment plan becomes harder over time. Make it a point to talk to your health care provider about staying on your treatment plan.

Plan ahead and keep extra medicine with you.

  • A busy schedule. Work or travel away from home can make it easy to forget to take pills. It may be possible to keep extra medicine at work or in your car. But talk to your health care provider first. Some medications are affected by extreme temperatures and it is not always possible to keep medications at work. Find help for mental health or substance use disorders.
  • Being sick or depressed.How you feel mentally and physically can affect your willingness to stick to your treatment plan. Your health care provider, social worker, or case manager can refer you to a mental health provider or local support groups.
  • Alcohol or drug use. If substance use is interfering with your ability to keep yourself healthy, it may be time to quit or better manage it.
  • If you need help finding substance use disorder treatment or mental health services, use SAMHSA’s Treatment Locatorexternal icon.

Talk to your health care provider if you miss a lot of doses of your HIV medicine.

 

  • Missing a dose.In most cases, you can take your medicine as soon as you realize you missed a dose. Then take the next dose at your usual scheduled time (unless your pharmacist or health care provider has told you something different).
  • Missing a lot of doses.Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about ways to help you remember your medicine. You and your health care provider may even decide to change your treatment routine to fit your health care needs and life situation.

Join a support group or ask your family and friends for support. They can help you stick to your treatment plan.