David Ross Patient’s simplistic and informative illustration of ARV adherence and side-effects:
If you look at the picture, from right to left, you will see that the ‘stairs’ start from a flat position…this is a representation of your body BEFORE you start treatment on ARV’s and/or TB medication. Your body has zero medication in it. Each of the steps represent every day that you take the medication, you are moving up the stairs and between three and four weeks after having started your treatment, you reach the top of the stairs and the plateau…drug tolerance and efficacy and there is enough medication in your body to now start working on getting your viral load down and your CD4 counts back up. Walking up the stairs is simply you taking the medication and allowing it to build up in your body to a point where you have enough of the treatment for it to start working. The journey up the stairs is when you may experience side effects but once you reach the top of the stairs [drug tolerance] most of the symptoms you experience while ‘climbing the stairs’ will go away.
THIS PICTURE IS SIMPLY a representation of the point I am trying to make.
Once you reach the plateau on the left side of the picture, you have reached drug tolerance and most if not all of the side effects you had while ‘climbing the stairs’ will go away. What is also important to point out is that in order for you to stay on the plateau [enough of the medication in your body] you need to ‘top up every day’ to keep the levels of the ARVS constant which is why it is so important you take your ARVS and TB treatment EVERY DAY…no exception/ no excuses