Should I be wary of Changing my ARV Medication?

As a new year looms, my thoughts got around to our ever-changing world, and it reminded me of the first time I became aware of the new ONE tablet, Atripla, in 2011, replacing my two-tablet combination. The one-tablet Atripla got suspended in 2021, allegedly due to a lack of demand.

By Cindy Pivacic.


In 2008, my doctor advised that he wanted me to change my medication. I was terrified to make the change. I had, before this conversation, acquired numerous diseases related to my HIV status that led to my AIDS diagnosis. My fear, at this time, was based on the health challenges my body had undergone and the unbelievable results and comebacks I made once I started my initial regime of ARVs. Basically, at this point, I did not trust change. 

After some time and my research, I found that the change was purely a combination of my previous ARV drug with an identifying colour change. I decided to put the fear aside and started taking Atripla, replacing it in 2015 with a generic of the Atripla I was taking. Admittedly, I was sceptical, but I decided to trust the science.

 I eventually transitioned to Dolutegravir (TLD) in 2020 and currently take this medication. The only difference in my regimen is that, on my doctor’s orders, I take my ARVs in the morning versus all my previous ARVs, taken in the evening. The reason behind this change is that dolutegravir may lead to insomnia.

Fear of change can be overwhelming and is a normal reaction when whatever you are currently doing or consuming works for you. But, ask your healthcare provider the questions, do your checking, get a second opinion if you are still uncertain, and speak to your HIV community (as your last resort) who have made these changes on doctors’ orders so you can make an educated decision.

A chronic condition can affect anyone. How you manage it is what makes the difference.

You can get cover of up to 3 million rand for your chronic health condition and up to 10 million if you are living with HIV.

SMS CHRONIC to 33857 to find out more. 

I did!

Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only.

It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure, and is not a substitute for professional consultation with a health professional.


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