ART only works if it is taken exactly as the healthcare professional prescribes. ART only suppresses (pushes down) our viral load if we take the right medication at the same time every day.
After 3 to 6 months of ART, the HIV virus may be so suppressed that it will not show up in a blood test. This is called an undetectable viral load (UVL). This does not mean we are cured. We have to continue taking our HIV medication to stay undetectable.
A person with an undetectable viral load:
If we skip ART even once or stop it, the virus will continue multiplying and attacking the immune system. This can lead to drug resistance. Then you will need a different and stronger ART, which may have more side effects.
Taking drugs regularly as prescribed by the healthcare professional can be difficult physically and emotionally. It is a life-long commitment. For this reason it is important that before you start ART you are prepared, organised and ready.