Stay In Care

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The Importance of Retention in Care — Getting Regular Care for HIV

Staying in HIV care, or retention in care, is defined as having two visits during a calendar year – spaced two to six months apart – with an HIV doctor, or medical provider. It’s important for all persons living with HIV to make these visits, adhere to their HIV medication and treatment plans, and achieve retention in care.

The goal of HIV treatment is to achieve viral suppression – a low level of HIV in your blood. Viral suppression is the fifth and final step of the HIV Care Continuum. According to the Getting to Zero Illinois HIV Dashboard, only 63% of persons living with HIV have reached viral suppression. And that’s because only about 43% of persons living with HIV are successfully staying in care by making medical appointments twice a year and regularly taking their medications. The percentages of individuals reaching viral suppression and staying in care may have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To achieve viral suppression, stay in care. In addition to this Stay in Care section of this website, the Live Healthy with HIVViral Suppression and HIV and Mental Health sections may be helpful to you.

Illinois HIV Care Connect Can Help You Find The Support You Need

Learning about and understanding your healthcare treatment and payment options when living with HIV will help you manage your infection. There are many resources available through Illinois HIV Care Connect to give you the support that you require, starting with enrollment through your regional care provider.

If you don’t already have a regular doctor who can treat your HIV, Illinois HIV Care Connect can help you find a health care provider who can explain treatment options available to you. Learning about treatment and payment options, choosing a doctor, and staying in regular care are among the first steps toward increasing your chances of living a long and healthy life.