Why you shouldn't take unaccredited medication for HIV

Always make sure the medication you take is prescribed.
Always make sure the medication you take is prescribed.
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  • Make sure the medication you take is approved fro human consumption by an expert.
  • If your viral load doesn't drop with the use of ARVs, your clinic will change your change your medication after assessing you.
  • There is currently no cure for HIV.


Since the emergence of HIV, many people have jumped on to the treatment bandwagon. Some try to make a quick buck.

Others have honestly tried to make a difference but in fact don’t offer treatments likely to have long-lasting effects, such as certain diets or the use of various herbs or pills. It’s important to not fall prey to medication and advice that won’t help us live our best HIV-positive lives.

We have choices when it comes to medical care. However, it is our responsibility to choose care that has been medically proven to be effective by experts. In this way, we will be able to deal with our medical challenges successfully.

Read more: Diagnosing HIV

MAKING A QUICK BUCK

There’s no denying the treatment of HIV and Aids has become a major business for pharmaceuticals, some individuals and governments.

A lot of money can be made from our desperation and naïvety. It has allowed unscrupulous people to take advantage and make a quick buck – unethical people who have their sights on profits only.

It’s important to identify ethical providers of medication. Ethical business people ensure a balance between providing a quality service and their need to make a profit.

SEEK APPROVAL

For medication to be approved for human consumption, it needs to go through various processes. Organisations like the American Food and Drug Administration and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority are examples of bodies responsible for approval.

They ensure medication is approved after undergoing rigorous tests. The various trials determine the effectiveness of a medication as well as its side-effects. This prevents the promise of unrealistic results and ensures the medication doesn’t cause unforeseen complications.

So, before you engage in alternative medications, check if they are registered and approved by such a body. Most alternative medications haven’t been researched by trained personnel and their success and side-effects are often not listed.

LACK OF SUPPORT

Many practitioners of alternative medication not only lack evidence to prove the drug’s effectiveness, but they also can’t provide back-up plans if a person encounters complications.

Read more: Routine HIV tests vindicated

Every medication has side-effects – for example, dizziness when you start ARVs. If you encounter side-effects and complications, you need to know what steps to take to correct the situation. Most alternative medication is done by the backdoor.

In a typical situation, if your viral load doesn’t drop when you take ARVs, your clinic will change your medication and continue to assess your process. But many of those who administer alternative medication don’t have similar back-up plans and support if things go wrong.

UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

Most alternative medication is bought over the counter, either from a chemist or a herbalist. You pay, get the medicine and from there you’re on your own. As to whether the medication will really help . . . you can only keep your fingers crossed that it does. There is no cure for HIV, so most of the alternative medication tends to help boost your immune system or deal with some symptoms of HIV, without really tackling the disease.

It may make you feel better physically, but the medication is not curbing the root cause and your viral load will continue to shoot up because HIV replicates without the right medication to curb its growth. By the time you realise you’ve been going down an unrealistic path, massive damage has been done. Considering the shortcomings of alternative medication, ARVs are still the best when it comes to managing HIV.