Kai was born with HIV but did not know until he was 11. Depressed and unsure of his future, he sometimes postponed his anti-retroviral (ARV) drug doses or did not bother taking them at all. When his doctor asked whether he had taken his medicine on time, Kai would always answer "yes".
"When I was younger, I did not care about taking ARV," says Kai, who is still a teenager and sports both a tattoo and a pierced ear. "Also, I did not want my friends to see me taking the pills, so I skipped them sometimes."
This is an extremely dangerous practise, as ARV medication helps to protect people living with HIV from opportunistic infections as well as helping to suppress _ and even stop _ the progress of the virus. In short, it helps people with HIV to remain both healthy and alive. Yet many young people like Kai fail to take their medication every day, while some fail to take them at the same time every day, which makes the medication less effective and can lead to drug resistance.
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