The survey, conducted by the UK Coalition of People Living with HIV and AIDS, also found that HIV patients were concerned about short-term drug side effects as well as the negative interactions of HIV drugs with other medications.
Edinburgh resident Nikk Bowden, who has been infected with AIDS for seven years, says he is concerned about what long-term use of HIV drugs could do to his body: "If you are expected to be on them for 30 to 40 years, as some doctors will tell you, what is going to happen further down the line?"
Bowden questions whether or not research on long-term side effects of the drugs is ongoing, or has been conducted at all. "It is a worry that you could be taking something that isn't fully understood over a period of time," Bowden says.
HIV drug side effects can include muscle pain and muscle wasting, pancreas and liver problems, nerve damage, fat redistribution and diabetes. Today, 40 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS, and at the end of 2005, 1.3 million HIV-positive residents of poor countries had access to HIV drugs.