358 The green pages
With a pack of 28 pills, use any of the first 21 pills for emergency
contraception. Do not use the last 7 pills in a 28-day pack, because these pills do
not contain any hormones.
Progestin-only pills and special emergency pills have fewer side effects
(headaches and nausea) than combined pills used for emergency family planning.
Medicines for AIDS—AntiRetroviral Therapy (ART)
Medicines to treat AIDS are called antiretroviral medicines (ARVs). These medicines
can help a person with AIDS live a longer and healthier life. Taken as a combination
of at least 3 medicines, this is called AntiRetroviral Therapy, or ART. In this section
you will find information about some common medicine combinations for ART.
Look in the individual medicine charts (see pages 361 to 362) to see if there is an
interaction between your regular disability medicine and the medicines for AIDS.
HIV Care and ART Programs
HIV/AIDS is a complicated disease that affects every part of your body. As soon as
you have a positive HIV test, try to find an HIV care program where trained health
workers can see you regularly and help you stay healthy. HIV care programs can
provide medicines to prevent and treat HIV illnesses, counseling and other support.
They can help you start ART, treat any side effects, and change your ART if it is not
working for you. Getting drugs from an ART program is more reliable and less
costly than buying them from a private source.
When is ART needed?
People infected with HIV who still have healthy immune systems do not need ART.
Only people who test positive for HIV and show signs of AIDS, or whose immune
system is no longer working well, need ART. A blood test called a CD4 count can show
how well the immune system is working. If this test is available, and your CD4 count
is below 500, you and your health worker can decide when you should start ART. The
goal is to start ART before HIV can damage your immune system.
Before starting ART, it is important to discuss with your health worker:
• Have you ever taken any ARVs before? This may affect what medicines you
should take now.
• Do you have any illnesses or other conditions, like TB, serious infections, or
fever? They may need to be treated first.
• What are the benefits, risks, and possible side effects of ART? Try to talk to
someone who is already using ART as well as your health worker.
• Are you ready to take medicines every day, at the correct times? This is necessary
for ART to work.
• Will you have the support of a person you trust or an HIV/AIDS support group
who you can turn to for information and help?
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007