There are a lot more anti-HIV medications now than there were 10 or 20 years ago. Combination therapy means you're on 2 or 3 different ones at a time, and you'll certainly drop a few and swap a few in your time.
There are three main reasons for changing medications:
Remember that the goal of therapy is a viral load of less than 50 copies (undetectable). Anything over this means your medication may not be working as well as it should be. You will have blood tests regularly to check your viral load. If it's too high, you and your doctor can discuss adjusting your medication(s).
2. Side effects
If one or more of your medications causes unpleasant side effects that affect you in some way, talk to your doctor. They may change the responsible medication(s) for others.
3. Difficulty with adherence
If taking all your medications impacts on your life, or if you just feel unmotivated to keep taking them, work with your healthcare team to put things right. Learn about medications that are easier for you to take, and/or ask for support to keep you on track.
It can be tough getting used to a new medication, so here are some simple guidelines for change.
1. Be involved
Choose to be a part of the decisions made around your care. This will help you feel more connected to the medications you take and help you get a better outcome from them. Read about medications. Ask about the benefits and risks of each.
2. Focus on getting it right
The first few weeks are really important in adapting to a new treatment. If you can, try to make the switch when you have a break in your routine. This will help you get used to taking it at the same time each day and other rules of adherence.