I am myself positive and have been on ARVs for six months now and really doing well with my viral load undetectable.
Dear doctor, what can be done to help my wife who is HIV positive but refuses to be put on treatment? I am myself positive and have been on ARVs for six months now and really doing well with my viral load undetectable.
However, I am worried because my wife says she cannot stand taking drugs when she is not sick on top of having to go to a crowded clinic every month to see a doctor and get the drugs. Aaron.
Dear Aaron, since treating HIV is treatment for life, your wife needs to be given time to make up her mind so that when she starts the treatment, she will not stop or keep missing doses.
It is possible she has not yet accepted the fact that she is HIV positive and so continues living in denial, which is common when people are confronted with bad news such as being told one has HIV.
Many people on learning they are HIV positive go through degrees of anger, denial and bargaining before they accept they have the disease and start living positively.
Positive living, which many people living with HIV (PLHIV) have adopted includes accepting one has the disease, seeking early care and treatment, which includes taking ARVs daily, not because one is feeling unwell but to prevent the possibility of becoming sick including developing AIDS in future.
Since you are on ARVs and doing well, continue sharing with her your experience of taking ARVs daily and how your viral load is now undetectable, so that she can see that being on ARVs is not as bad as she thinks.
This is known as peer counseling, which many PLHIV have used to help others struggling with stigma and denial associated with being diagnosed with HIV.
Lastly, PLHIV who are on ARVs do not have to attend clinic monthly because once their viral load is suppressed they do not have to see a doctor frequently but can just collect their drugs every three or four months, which surely is not so bad considering the benefits of being on ART.