ARVs are assisting millions of HIV patients to live long and healthy lives

Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) are lifesaving drugs that can be relied on to live a long and healthy life. How helpful are they and how are they accessed in South Africa?

HIV and AIDS remains a major health challenge in South Africa. Unlike the initial days after it was discovered and considered a death sentence by many, its negative impact tremendously been reduced due to the discovery of Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).

What are ARVs?

Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) are potent and relatively safer lifesaving drugs provided for people living with HIV by approved healthcare providers. These drugs suppress viral activity in the human body which allows many to live healthy and long lives.

By adhering to the prescribed medical schedule and regularly taking these drugs, the amount of HIV in the body is significantly reduced, which translates into improved health and reduced chances of infecting others. In a nutshell, suppressed viral load leads to Undetectable or Untransmittable (U=U) status.

How can these drugs be accessed?

Anyone can consider taking an HIV test. Healthcare workers are trained to provide counselling services and facilitate access to medical care and ARVS.

Once a patient is on ARVs, blood tests are conducted on scheduled times to ascertain the viral load in the bloodstream and to check if a patient has achieved Undetectable or Untransmittable (U=U) status.

When a patient reaches U=U, it remains vitally important to keep taking the ARVs every day to stay Undetectable = Untransmittable. A patient can easily relapse and lose the U=U if he/she stops taking ARVs as prescribed by medical professionals.

Here is why taking ARVs every day and achieving Undetectable or Untransmittable (U=U) status matters:

-Patient can live a long and healthy life.

-The body gets into better shape and regains the ability to fight illness.

– Undetectable or Untransmittable (U=U) status means looking and feeling great.

-Depending on a patient’s adherence and improved health condition, clinic visits are drastically reduced.

-With improved health and strict adherence, a patient gains the privilege of collecting medication at convenient pick-up points without visiting the clinic.

– Undetectable or Untransmittable (U=U) helps to drastically minimise the risk of passing HIV onto others.

The positive impact of U=U goes far beyond suppressing the virus; it leads to better health without the stress and fear of living with HIV. More people can thus be encouraged to test, get access to ARVs and live healthier and longer lives while contributing to ending the spreading of HIV. The more people know their status and take ARVs, the less HIV.

For more on U=U go to your nearest clinic or visit



Related Articles

Back to top button