1. Myth: Having HIV means I am going to die.
With today’s HIV medicines, you can live a healthier life and have a positive outlook. HIV can be managed as a chronic (ongoing) disease, and people with HIV can lead healthier lives.
2. Myth: If I don’t feel sick; I don’t need to start HIV treatment.
Just because you do not feel sick does not mean that HIV isn’t harming your body. The current U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidelines advise, along with other factors, starting HIV treatment when the CD4 count is 500 or lower. The guidelines also state that treatment should be considered for people whose CD4 counts are above 500. Studies show that starting treatment earlier may help protect your immune system and help you live a longer life. Don't wait until you feel sick to start. (In the Philippines the old threshold of 350 CD4 Count is still being practiced.)
3. Myth: If I start HIV treatment, my body will start changing and I am going to look sick.
Some HIV medicines may have an impact on body shape. But today there are many HIV medicines that are less likely to cause body shape changes. If you are concerned, work with your healthcare provider to decide on a treatment that is right for you.
4. Myth: I'm going to have to take too many pills.
In the past, people may have taken 20 or 30 pills a day for their HIV. Today there are once daily treatments with fewer pills. Talk with your healthcare provider about HIV treatment choices that fit your lifestyle.
5. Myth: I'm strong - I’ll be fine without HIV treatment.
You may hope to stay healthier without ever having to take medicine for your HIV. But, HIV will damage your immune system if you leave it untreated. Without treatment, it is very rare for someone with HIV to keep the amount of HIV in their blood at an undetectable level over the long term. If left untreated long enough, HIV can turn into AIDS. Starting treatment may not be something you want to do. But it can give you the chance to live a longer, healthier life.
6. Myth: Taking HIV medicines is a constant reminder that I am sick and that I have HIV.
Try not to see HIV medicines as a reminder of being sick. Think of them as part of your desire to stay healthy. Remember, HIV medicines are a way to keep your CD4 count up and your immune system strong. When started early in the disease, HIV medicines can help preserve your immune system, reduce the risk of certain diseases, and reduce the risk of death.
7. Myth: I can't afford HIV treatment.
There are several programs that can help you pay for HIV medicines. Don't let cost prevent you from starting treatment. If you are worried about how you will pay for your HIV medicines, here are some ideas:
*Under Global Fund, currently ARVs are 100% FREE.
*in 2012, after the Global Fund is depleted, PHILHEALTH will take over the provision of ARVs, so it's important that you have PHILHEALTH.
*Talk to your HIV HelpDesk in the different Treatment Hubs for more details.
[source -- www.treathivnow.com]