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HIV Medicines Can Help You Control the HIV Virus

While there is currently no cure for HIV or AIDS, HIV medicines can help control HIV infection, which can help protect your immune system and reduce the risk of serious infections. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. To find out which HIV medicines might be right for you, talk to a healthcare provider.

HIV medicines can help in two ways

  • Lower the viral load (the amount of virus in the blood). HIV medicines can help people living with HIV achieve an undetectable viral load, meaning the amount of virus in the blood is so low that it can’t be measured by a test. Being undetectable does not mean that the virus is gone.
  • Raise the CD4 T-cell count (the number of cells that fight infections in the body). Reducing the HIV-1 viral load can help raise your CD4 T-cell number, which can help make your immune system stronger.

Take your HIV medicines exactly as directed

Get the most from your HIV treatment by taking your medicines exactly as your healthcare provider prescribes them. Your viral load can increase if you don’t take your HIV medicines as prescribed, if you miss doses, or if you stop treatment. This can also cause drug resistance, meaning that the virus changes in a way that makes some HIV treatments no longer effective.

Find out which HIV medicines might be right for you

Ask your healthcare provider about your options for treating HIV. Different HIV medicines are taken in a variety of ways:

  • In one or more daily pills
  • With or without meals
  • Once daily or more frequently

It is important to let your healthcare provider know if you have any other health conditions or if you are currently taking any other medicines, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Your healthcare provider will prescribe an option that is right for you.

Get the conversation about your health goals started with your doctor.

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What is BIKTARVY®?

BIKTARVY is a complete, 1-pill, once-a-day prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults and children who weigh at least 55 pounds. It can either be used in people who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before, or people who are replacing their current HIV-1 medicines and whose healthcare provider determines they meet certain requirements.

BIKTARVY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. HIV-1 is the virus that causes AIDS.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

What is the most important information I should know about BIKTARVY?

BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects:

  • Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. Your healthcare provider will test you for HBV. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV and stop taking BIKTARVY, your HBV may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking BIKTARVY without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health, and may give you HBV medicine.

Who should not take BIKTARVY?

Do not take BIKTARVY if you take:

  • dofetilide
  • rifampin
  • any other medicines to treat HIV-1

What are the other possible side effects of BIKTARVY?

Serious side effects of BIKTARVY may also include:

  • Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that may have been hidden in your body. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking BIKTARVY.
  • Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys. If you develop new or worse kidney problems, they may tell you to stop taking BIKTARVY.
  • Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious but rare medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, cold or blue hands and feet, feel dizzy or lightheaded, or a fast or abnormal heartbeat.
  • Severe liver problems, which in rare cases can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, or stomach-area pain.

The most common side effects of BIKTARVY in clinical studies were diarrhea (6%), nausea (6%), and headache (5%). Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or don’t go away.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking BIKTARVY?

  • All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or have had any kidney or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection.
  • All the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, antacids, laxatives, vitamins, and herbal supplements. BIKTARVY and other medicines may affect each other. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist, and ask if it is safe to take BIKTARVY with all of your other medicines.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if BIKTARVY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking BIKTARVY.
  • If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call ‍1‑800‑FDA‑10881‑800‑FDA‑1088.

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