Living with HIV isn’t just about managing your viral load. These days, people have additional things to consider—like developing other medical conditions, managing multiple medications, and dealing with the impact of side effects. Naturally, not everyone’s journey is exactly the same, but regardless of where you are in your journey, there’s always something to learn.


Whether you’re HIV positive or not, aging puts a tax on your health. But for people living with HIV-1 (PLWHIV), that process can be accelerated. The virus—and the treatments used to help you stay undetectable—can cause complications later in life. In fact, PLWHIV are more likely to have other serious conditions. Some of the most common include:


Neurocognitive Disorders

50% of PLWHIV may  have an  HIV-associated  neurocognitive disorder


Hepatitis C

25% of those who are  HIV positive  are also  coinfected with hepatitis C



People who are  HIV positive  are 4x  more likely to  develop diabetes


Heart Disease

The chance of heart  disease is  2x higher  for PLWHIV

Tell your doctor about all your health  conditions, including any conditions that may  run in your family.


When you're balancing more than one condition, you run the risk of having drug-drug interactions. This occurs when two or more drugs you are taking don't work well together. Unfortunately, a medication you need for one thing may interact with what you're already taking to manage your HIV-1.

Other Prescription Medications

Dealing with more than one disease may mean having to deal with more than one prescription. Some of the most common are:



Birth Control


Proton Pump Inhibitors  (prescribed antacids)



Blood Thinners

Over the Counter Medications

Believe it or not, even some of the medicines found at the store could have a reaction with what you’re taking for your HIV. The most common shelved items that may interact with your HIV treatment include:



Inhalers and Nasal Sprays

St. John’s Wort

Supplements  (like vitamins and minerals)

Talk to your doctor about all the medicines  you are taking.


The only way to get to undetectable is to get on treatment. But even though your HIV-1 medicine is intended to lower your viral load, it can also come with side effects, such as:


Feeling tired

Nausea (upset stomach)





Muscle pain

Occasional dizziness


Tell your doctor if you are experiencing  any side effects.


Talk to your doctor about all your health concerns and discuss which HIV regimen may be right for you. For additional information about HIV, check out these other helpful resources below.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


National Institutes of Health


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs