POSITIVELY AWARE July/August 2012comment
I just opened the 2012 PA Drug Guide and curled up for a cover-to-cover read. I didn’t get past the editor’s note. Like always, Jeff’s open sharing was moving, and caused me to pause. No one talks so bluntly about switching, the shifting paradigms of treatment, and/or aging. No one else lays it all out there with honesty, conviction, and gentleness.
I don’t know why his ideas get me all choked up. Maybe there is a trace of provider’s guilt. I used to worry 24 hours a day, when I was practicing. I wondered if I made the right decisions, were the guidelines making the right call, were the available regimens a one-size-fits-all. There were so many choices, I have come to see, that could have been better. Let me phrase it differently. There are so many aspects of treatment that have gotten better! One of those is the improved side effect profiles. Also, initiating treatment early…in the good way. Not the “hit it hard; hit it early” way. Maybe I just get moved by hearing that there is another voice out there fighting the same fight, and looking at the same ideas, like switching as an option. Like Jeff said, when we know better, we do better.
It has been a journey. Thanks to Jeff for sharing his. Thanks to PA for being a part of mine.
—Name withheld by request
The response from Dr. Bick in the May+June “Ask the Specialist” column was not accurate. The writer asked about her brother getting treatment for HIV while in prison and Dr. Bick said he has a right to it.
Actually, while you may have that right, you do not necessarily get treatment when in jail. I had to serve two weeks in jail. Before I went in, the judge was informed of my illness and I handed all my meds over after sentencing. I went to jail, my meds were shelved, and I was given no access to them. Before entering jail my T-cell count was stable and I was healthy. After leaving, my T-cells were below 200, I had lost a lot of weight, and I had AIDS. So please don’t misinform people about rights that are not given, even by the judges.
I will never be free of the anger I have for these people.
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