National AIDS Resource Center

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I am HIV positive. Do I need to start taking antiretroviral medication?

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You do not necessarily need to take anti-HIV (also called antiretroviral) medications just because you are HIV Positive. You and your doctor will determine the best time to start treatment. When to take anti-HIV medications depends: on your overall health, the amount of virus in your blood (viral load), and how well your immune system is working. It’s usually recommended that you start treatment if you are ill because of HIV. In most cases, it is recommended that you complete treatment for any infection that you have developed before you start HIV treatment.

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