I’ve been diagnosed HIV+ but my consultant says I don’t need to have HIV   medication at the moment. Why is this? Surely it would be better to start medication straight away.

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The decision about when to start treatment should involve, first of all, an honest discussion with your consultant about why you want to start.

Remember that once you start treatment, you will be taking it for the rest of your life.

New guidelines were introduced just this year which say that anyone can start on HIV meds at any point after their diagnosis so long as they are ready.

There is a very strong argument for starting meds early. What we know now is that someone who is taking HIV meds and has an undetectable viral load – meaning that the amount of the virus in the person’s body is so low that it can’t be detected by the system of measurement that’s used – has an almost impossible chance of passing HIV on to someone else. 

We also know that starting medication soon after diagnosis – rather than waiting until the immune system has become weaker – is actually better for the longer term health of someone living with HIV.    

Think through your own reasons for wanting to start treatment and have another discussion with your consultant.

If you do want to start medication, the guidelines are very clear and you have every right to ask your consultant to start you on them.

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