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How to Get Your HIV Drugs
It's crucial to find and stick with a physician whom you trust. Different drug therapies work for different people - your physician can help you to find the right therapy for you.

1. Keep all your doctor's appointments. He or she may prescribe drugs for you, as well as address any questions, concerns or problems that you are having with your drug regimen.

2. Consider resistance testing to see which drugs would be ineffective against your strain of the HIV virus. Note: Resistance testing is not FDA-approved and so is not covered by insurance and can get quite costly for a patient.

3. Talk to your doctor about choosing the drug cocktail (an effective combination of three classes of anti-HIV drugs) that best balances the following considerations: strength, side effects and cost.

4. Make long-term plans for HIV treatment. Talk about the importance of "user-friendly" drugs and staying informed about the importance of your HIV treatment.

5. Follow your doctor's instructions very carefully when taking your prescription - doing so will give your body an optimum chance of fighting HIV.

6. Discuss salvage therapy with your doctor if you and your doctor find that your current treatment is not working. This therapy is the next regimen used after an initially unsuccessful treatment.

Most HIV drugs have proved effective in helping to lengthen the life of someone with the virus and so are in general covered by insurance. If you smoke or if you use drugs not prescribed by your doctor, quit.

Don't change how you take your medicine without your physician's consent, no matter what the reason (illness, side effects); call your doctor first.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.