What does treatment involve?

Although there is no cure for HIV, there are effective treatments available that allow people with the condition to stay well and to lead normal healthy lives.

The sooner treatment starts, the more effective it can be.

HIV is treated with a range of drugs that reduces the level of virus in your blood and can therefore prevent the virus from causing health problems for many years but you need to keep taking them for them to continue working.

Today many people just take one pill every day and see a specialist at the hospital every 3-6 months for a check-up.

Regular blood testing to look at the amount of virus in the blood is used to show whether the treatment is working or whether a change in medicines is needed. One of the main goals in using these drugs is to become undetectable – this will have a positive impact on your health and means you will not pass the virus on to anyone else. Find out more about viral load and HIV transmission.

The HSE recommend that all people living with HIV attending HIV services in Ireland are offered antiretroviral therapy and informed of the benefits of antiretroviral therapy in improving their personal health and reducing HIV infectiousness. Here is further Information on Antiretroviral Therapy for people living with HIV in Ireland.

Tests: what you need to know