Where and how should I store my ARVs?
Storing HIV medication can be quite the challenge especially when you are living with others and you have not disclosed to them your health status. In such instances, you may find yourself worrying about where and how to store your medication.
The best way to store HIV medication depends solely on the person taking them, and the nature of their circumstance as for some it could be a life and death situation, however the most important thing to note is that they should be in their container and stored at room temperature for the effectiveness of the medication.
ARVs should be kept in their container as the filter inside helps keep the content dry.
For most people who are living positively with HIV, storing of medication in room temperatures possibly in their rooms is recommended.
In some cases, where cases of Intimate Partner Violence and Gender Based Violence hinder people from taking their medication, it can can be transferred into a different container such as vitamin bottles that can minimize the suspicion of the perpetrators and help keep the other party safe.
Teenagers and young people still living under the care of their parents and caregivers/guardians do resort to storing them deep inside their closet full of clothes and or shoes that they know their caregivers cannot have access to.
The medication is mostly filled with cotton wool or tissue to prevent the jingling of the medication inside and raise awareness of what they might be taking which can lead to a forced disclosure and further escalate stigma and discrimination in a family setting where that could negatively affect the intake of medication and eventually interfere with drug adherence.
It would be important to also discuss your living situation with your healthcare provider for them to provide the best method of how to go about storing the medication and how to take them in a way that would not cause more risk to you should there need be.