Adherence (also referred to as compliance) means the extent to which you take the right dose of the drugs at the right time. Taking the right dose at the right time is important. Skipping doses can mean that the drug becomes ineffective against the virus A small infective organism which is incapable of reproducing outside a host cell. and allows resistance HIV which has mutated and is less susceptible to the effects of one or more anti-HIV drugs is said to be resistant. to develop, see Resistance . Taking a drug on a full stomach when it’s meant to be taken before eating can make the drug less effective. Make sure you know how each drug should be taken to be as effective as possible against the virus.
Are you having trouble with your dosing schedule?
There are plenty of ways to help you remember to take your drugs on time. You could experiment with some of these:
- Take your drugs at the same time each day;
- Have supplies of your drugs at places you know you’ll be (partner’s house; work, if relevant);
- Take your drugs with you wherever you go;
- When travelling, be aware of the different time zones you might be crossing and adjust your dosing times accordingly (this can be done by talking to your doctor before you leave);
- Portable pill boxes, with a timer that you can set to beep each time you need to take a drug, are available from your local AIDS council or doctor;
- Get a Dosette box — this is a box which lets you set out your pills for the week in labelled sections so you can easily see what you have taken and what you need to take next. These are available from chemists or AIDS councils;
- Keep a calendar or diary in a prominent place at home and work which you can tick off each time you take your pills;
- Establish a routine which associates pill taking with meals where appropriate;
- Get an electronic diary and program it to remind you to take the drugs;
- Prepare for holidays by getting a stock of drugs in advance; and
- Find out from other people with HIV what they do to help remember their pills.