Emergency family planning 359
Be sure you know where to get help if you have problems getting your ART
medicines, have problems with side effects, or need treatment for other health
Do not start taking ARVs on your own. They may be the wrong ones for you and
can have serious side effects.
Do not share ARVs with anyone, including a partner or child. Taking less than
the recommended dose can cause the medicines to stop working, harming you and
the person you share them with.
Do not buy ARVs from someone who is not part of an approved HIV care or ART
ARV combinations (ART regimens)
ARVs are effective only if they are taken in combinations (regimens) of at least
3 medicines. We list 4 common combinations on page 360, and then give more
information about each medicine. As more is learned about HIV and how to slow
or stop it, drug regimens will change. Ask your health worker what medicines are
available and work best where you live.
The 4 regimens in the box below are the easiest to take. They can be taken
with or without food. They are also the least costly and most available. Some
combinations (all 3 medicines, or sometimes just 2 of the 3) are available in one
pill, called a ‘fixed dose combination.’
How to Take ART
• Whatever combination you use, take all 3 medicines every day, at the same
times of day.
• If the medicines need to be taken 2 times a day, there should be 12 hours
between the 2 doses. For example, if you take the morning dose at 6:00, then
the second dose should be taken at 6:00 in the evening. If you leave more than
12 hours between doses, having too little medicine in your body for some
hours can cause drug resistance.
• If you forget to take a dose on time, try to take it within 5 hours. If it is more
than 5 hours late, wait until it is time for the next dose.
• Do not stop taking any medicine that is part of an ART regimen without seeing
a health worker to find out if your medicines should be stopped separately or
all at once.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007