Your Guide to HIV Treatment

Other healthcare team members

My advice is: Gather information, become knowledgeable and know what HIV is, what it does and what’s out there in terms of support. The more you know about yourself and the virus, the better you can manage your own health and stand strong and positive…. You don’t have to do that alone. Get connected, build a support network and learn how to speak to your doctor.

—Jane

Your healthcare team doesn’t end with your doctor. Your clinic may have nurses on staff, as well as other professionals, such as social workers, therapists and peer counsellors. These people all have valuable skills to contribute to your care and can often give advice on practical matters, like paying for drugs or drug adherence. What’s more, they may have more time to talk to you. For example, your nurse may be able to answer a question when your doctor is busy.

You will also be seeing a pharmacist whenever you go to pick up your medications. Because pharmacists are generally more readily available than doctors, many people with HIV rely on their pharmacists for information about their treatment. Pharmacists can help you keep track of your drugs so that you can avoid allergies or drug interactions. To avoid drug interactions, it’s best to get all of your medications from one drugstore, especially if you are filling prescriptions from more than one doctor. Pharmacists can also provide useful suggestions for treatment adherence and on drug payment plans.