Shocked african american woman reading leaflet before taking contraceptive pills, sitting on couch at home

Is it safe to take ARVs with other medications?

For people living with HIV, one will fall ill with something different, a slight headache, stomach upsets, sometimes it doesn’t have to be illness but rather protection measures such as contraceptives and you might wonder whether that can have an effect on your health.

It is important that anyone prescribing medication to you knows about all other medicines that you are taking, this includes those prescribed by another doctor, over the counter medicine, herbal treatments and yes, even recreational drugs.

Some drugs could cause serious side effects to your body which can in turn make the drugs you are taking ineffective or stop working. Your doctor or pharmacist will check the contents of the drug before prescribing a medication for you and you can do this simply by writing down or taking a photo of the medication you take, the name and what you take it for and take it to the health care facility every time you visit. 

If you are recommended a medicine by another healthcare provider it is important they know the drugs you are taking for HIV because again some drugs like the ‘blue pill’ that deal with erectile dysfunction can react adversely with some medication that manages HIV so it is best that they know.

If you are thinking of using any other drugs, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist so they can check for possible interactions and recommend the most suitable treatment , or when you are buying from them you may wish to tell the pharmacist the anti-HIV medications you are taking.

Some community pharmacies often have a private area for consultation, or you could write the name of the drugs down and hand it to the pharmacist, if you do need to mention the name of your anti-HIV drugs, it is very unlikely that anyone around you will recognize what they are used to treat.

You can safely take some painkillers such as paracetamol, when on anti-HIV medications, unless there are other medical reasons why you shouldn’t take this sort of drug. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about the best type of painkiller for you.

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LoveMatters Africa

Blush-free facts and stories about love, sex, and relationships