VICTORY OVER HIV
Taking your medication at the same time is key to suppressing the virus
AN integral part of adherence is ensuring that you take your pills on time. We know that the effectiveness of ARVs is based either on the 12 or 24-hour period, depending on the type of medication you are taking. For those who are still taking the three-pills-combination, they take their medication in the morning and evening, giving a 12-hour interval. On the other hand, those taking one pill (Fixed-Dosed-Combination) have to take it every 24 hours.
We all know that some countries have different time zones. Overseas travellers have a first-hand experience of this. This poses a challenge since the different time zones may confuse one in terms of taking pills. An example is, let’s say you are taking your pills at 8pm then you also take a flight overseas.
Obviously, when it’s 8pm where you will be, it will be a different time back in South Africa. It is important to have a separate watch to give you the time back in South Africa. This may mean a slight shift from the time of the day so you will find yourself taking your pills in the afternoon or deep in the night. The trick is ensuring that you adhere to the 12 or 24-hour lapse between the last time you took the last one and the next one.
Other people, who face challenges with their intake of medications, are those who work different shifts – either at night or during the day. This creates an impression of having to adjust the medication intake according to their shifts. The reason being that some say that once they have taken pills, they feel sleepy and tired.
Consequently, when they are on night shift they take their evening medication in the morning. This is wrong. Changing the times of your medication allows the virus to develop resistance as it gains strength. Once you familiarise yourself with taking your pills at the same time, even the tiredness and drowsiness will stop.
ARVS AND TIME
It must be understood that you need to take your medication at the same time to ensure effectiveness. If you take your pills earlier than you are supposed to, it means that there are access drugs in your body which is equivalent to overdosing. If you take them slightly later, you open a gap for the virus to gain strength since it will not be effectively suppressed during that time. Therefore, whether you have to juggle time zones or work shifts, ensure that the time of taking your medication is not affected.
While time zones and work shifts may create a bit of a challenge for you, always adhere to the exact time between your intake and next dose.
THE TRICK IS TO ENSURE YOU ADHERE TO THE 12 OR 24-HOUR LAPSE
Clement Fana Ntuli is a motivational speaker and author of the book Turning Trials Into Triumph. Do you have any HIV-related questions? Email your question to Clement at firstname.lastname@example.org.