If you do test positive for HIV, these resources will help you understand the medications and support services available to you.
HIV is treated with a combination of medicines that together are called antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART is not a cure, but it can help control the virus in your body so that you can live a long, healthy and productive life and reduce your risk of transmitting HIV to others.
ART involves taking a combination of HIV medicines at the same time, every day to prevent HIV from multiplying in your body. If you’re taking ART, even though you’ll still have HIV, the amount of virus in your body will stay low (or be reduced over time) and your body will be strong enough to protect you from disease.
Taking ART also protects your sexual partners. The fewer viruses you have in your body, the less likely you are to transmit the virus to other people. So treatment is important for you and the people you care about!
ART makes it much less likely to transmit HIV to your partners, but it doesn’t make it impossible. Also, ART doesn’t protect you from being re-infected with other strains of HIV, or from other sexually-transmitted infections like syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia, which could complicate your treatment. Even if you’re taking ART, it’s important to continue using other prevention strategies such as the use of condoms and water-based lubricant, and regular STI check-ups.
Many people are concerned about side effects from ART treatment. While in the past some HIV treatments caused serious side effects, today they’re generally mild. They often occur when a patient starts treatment and go away after anywhere from a few days to a month. Common side effects include:
- Anemia (abnormality in red blood cells)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain and nerve problems
If you experience side effects, don’t stop taking your medicine! Talk to your doctor - you may need to change to a different combination of medicines.
If you’re on ART, it’s very important that you take it every day, at the same time, exactly as directed. ART is designed to keep HIV from multiplying in your body – if you continually miss doses, the virus may start multiplying again, and you could develop resistance. This means the medicine you’re taking can no longer stop the virus from multiplying. In this case, you would have to switch to different medicines.
If you do miss a dose, don’t panic! Unless your health care provider tells you otherwise, take the medicine you missed as soon as you realize you skipped it. But if your next treatment is due within 2 hours of less, don’t take the missed dose and instead just continue on your regular medication schedule. Don’t take a double dose of a medicine to make up for a missed dose.
Integrated Treatment Centre
The Kowloon Bay Integrated Treatment Centre (KBITC) was opened in 1999. It is a multi-purpose building developed on the concept of integrated prevention and care of HIV patient. The Integrated Treatment Centre is the main premises for clinical care of ambulatory HIV-infected patients in the Department of Health. Apart from HIV clinical service, it also provides the integrated services of dermatology-venereology, therapeutic prevention clinic, day ward, hepatitis vaccination, counselling service and medical social service. The aim of KBITC is to provide quality clinical care together with effective primary prevention to HIV patients in an integrated manner.
HIV status of a client should be confirmed before referral to ITC. Clinic attendance is by appointment only. Either referring doctor or the patient himself may call ITC at 2117 0896 for an appointment.
ITC provides care to HIV/AIDS patients through its designated HIV clinical services
Princess Margaret Hospital
Princess Margaret Hospital was founded in 1975. From 2002 onwards, the hospital provides comprehensive HIV services, including in-patient and out-patient services. The hospital has intensive cooperation with the Integrated Treatment Centre and provide in-patient care for patients. In 2009, the Special Medical Clinic has been established to provide Out-patient Clinic Services. Referrals from private practitioners and hospitals, Non-government organizations and hospitals in Kowloon West & New Territories West clusters are accepted.
Our objectives are:
To provide comprehensive services including medical inpatient/ outpatient treatment, specialist nursing, advice, support, education and information for the patient and people living with HIV;
To provide HIV & clinical infectious diseases training for trainees in Infectious Diseases & Microbiology; and
To promote clinical research in HIV medicine
Scope of Services：
The inpatient service is located in Block S, providing medical services.
Specialist clinic: Every Tuesday morning and Friday afternoon
Address: 2-10 Princess Margaret Hospital Road, Princess Margaret Hospital Block K, 4/F Specialist Clinic
Contact no.：6461 0613
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Comprehensive scope of in-patient , day-patient and out-patient services.
Clinical care by multi-specialty team comprising specialists in infectious diseases, neurology, respiratory medicine, gastroenterology and hepatology, pediatry, haematology and oncology, with special interest in HIV medincine.
Clinical, immunological and virological monitoring prior to and after initiation of HAART.
Counselling and patient support services, including psychosocial care, drug adherence, secondary prevention, nutritional intervention, physical and vocational rehabilitation. Community care in collaboration with NGOs.
Counselling and support services to partners and family members.
Queen Elizabeth Hospital((HIV Clinical Service)
Contact No.:2958 5855
ART is available to anyone at a specialist rate with a valid Hong Kong ID. The first visit with our nurses is HKD$80; second appointment is $135 with our doctors; and $80 every time after with medications always at $15.
Treatments are currently available at Kowloon Bay Integrated Treatment Centre (KBITC), Princess Margaret Hospital, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Remember, you don’t need to go through this alone. You may decide to tell one or some of your close friends before you tell your family. However, you should talk to someone about it because ignoring your HIV status will not make it go away. If you’d like to talk to someone, there are a number of supportive individuals, groups and organisations inHong Kong. Often reaching out and talking to other people is a good way to help you on your treatment journey. You may visit http://www.poz.org.hk.