There’s no cure for HIV, but treatment can help you stay healthy. It can also lower or even stop your chances of giving HIV to anyone else.
What’s the treatment for HIV?
There’s no cure for HIV, but there are treatments that help people with HIV live long, healthy lives. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a combination of medicines that slows down the effects of HIV in your body and can help you stay healthy for many years. It can also lower or even stop your chances of giving HIV to anyone else.
ART lowers the amount of HIV in your body (called your viral load) — sometimes to the point where HIV won’t show up on standard blood tests. If your HIV viral load is so low that certain tests can’t see it, it’s called “undetectable.” When someone has an undetectable viral load, they can’t spread HIV to others during sex.
It’s important to remember that even with an undetectable viral load, HIV is still present in your body. If you stop treatment your viral load can go up, making it possible to pass HIV to others you have sex with. Your doctor or nurse can help you find the treatment that’s best for you to help keep your viral load low, so you can stay healthy.
Paying attention to your lifestyle can help you stay healthy too. This means eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, learning how to deal with stress, and avoiding alcohol, smoking, and drugs.
Where can I get treated for HIV?
It’s important to find a doctor who has experience treating HIV. Your local Planned Parenthood health center can help you get the treatment you need. HIV.gov can also help you find an HIV doctor and other support services in your area.