Treatment breaks, otherwise known as structured treatment interruptions or treatment holidays, are where you get to take a break from your HIV treatment under the close supervision of your HIV doctor. Doctors have been investigating the value of treatment breaks for a few years now.

It had been hoped that in taking treatment breaks, the side effects of anti-HIV drugs would be reduced. Unfortunately, studies that have been done have shown that there were very few benefits in taking treatment breaks, and that they could do more harm than good [1].

In trials, the viral load of those participating often rose very quickly once they stopped taking their anti-HIV drugs [2]. This often caused their CD4 count to fall rapidly and sometimes put them at a greater risk of opportunistic infections than doctors would have wanted.

These studies have therefore concluded that treatment breaks are not advisable for most people [3].

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1 Treatment breaks. AIDSMAP, February 2010
2 Treatment breaks. AIDSMAP, February 2010
3 Treatment breaks. AIDSMAP, February 2010