HIV medications can have some significant, long-term side effects. While many of these side effects are treatable, some can be long-term.
You need to tell your healthcare provider about any side effects, so that he or she can decide the best course of treatment for
both your HIV disease and the side effects. Always let your healthcare provider know if your side effects are severe, especially
if you are finding it difficult to stay on your treatment plan.
Some of the most common long-term side effects of HIV treatment include:
- Lipodystrophy–A problem in the way your body produces, uses, and stores fat. (Also called “fat redistribution”).
These changes can include losing fat in the face and extremities, and gaining fat in the abdomen and back of the neck.
- Insulin Resistance–A condition that can lead to abnormalities in your blood sugar levels and, possibly, diabetes.
Lab tests which look at your sugar levels are usually the best indicators that you have insulin resistance.
- Lipid abnormalities–Increases in cholesterol or triglycerides. Like with insulin resistance, lab tests (cholesterol
and triglycerides) are the best indicators of lipid abnormalities.
- Decrease in bone density–Can be a significant issue, especially for older adults with HIV. This can lead to an
increase risk of injury and fractures.
- Lactic acidosis–A buildup of lactate, a cellular waste product, in the body. This can cause problems ranging from
muscle aches to liver failure. Alert your health care provider immediately.