The people behind the 2021 HIV Drug Guide


Eric K. Farmer, PharmD, BCPS, AAHIVP, is an HIV clinical pharmacist at the Indiana University Health LifeCare Clinic at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, one of the largest providers of HIV medical services in the state of Indiana. He provides pharmacy services that include medication adherence counseling and patient education, drug information services, medication procurement, medication therapy management, and medical care coordination services. He is on the Board of Directors for the American Academy of HIV Medicine and serves as clinical faculty for the Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center. Dr. Farmer graduated from Butler University with his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2007. He then completed an ASHP-accredited PGY1 pharmacy residency at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis, and subsequently an ASHP-accredited PGY2 HIV specialty pharmacy residency at the Center for HIV/AIDS Care and Research at Boston Medical Center. 


Melanie Thompson, MD’s career of over three decades has focused on ending the HIV pandemic, including conducting clinical research for HIV treatment and prevention, advising on HIV policy at the local and national level, developing national and international HIV treatment and care guidelines, and providing medical care for people with HIV. Between 1988 and 2020, she conducted over 400 studies in the areas of HIV treatment, prevention and diagnostics; viral hepatitis treatment and diagnostics; and sexually transmitted infection diagnostics as Principal Investigator of the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta (ARCA). She saw her first patient with HIV in 1982 and has cared for thousands of people with HIV in Atlanta since that time.

She currently co-chairs the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) HIV Primary Care Guidance Panel that recently published its 2020 recommendations for the clinical care of people with HIV in Clinical Infectious Diseases in November.

Dr. Thompson’s passion is to contribute to an end to the HIV epidemic through patient-centered medical care, prevention and treatment research, and evidence-based guidelines and policy with a focus on health inequities.


Bridgette Picou is a licensed vocational nurse currently working in both the HIV and home health fronts. She helps student nurses understand the importance of compassionate and informed care to the health and mental well-being of people living a positive life. With an emphasis on women’s voices and needs, her goal is to be a light for everyone struggling with HIV and navigating a new life process after diagnosis. Focusing on blogging, educating, and speaking at various conferences, Bridgette hopes that by normalizing the image of what HIV looks like, the stigma and fear can be reduced or eliminated. Quality of life is important to her as well as the idea of thriving rather than just surviving.


Enid Vázquez has been Associate Editor of POSITIVELY AWARE ever since she joined the magazine in 1995. She earned her B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She interned at The Chicago Reporter and was a cub reporter for The Hartford Courant, the oldest continuously published newspaper in the United States. Her freelance work has appeared in publications around the country. She became interested in health reporting because of the importance it has on people’s lives. It is a privilege to work on behalf of people living with HIV/AIDS, Enid says.  She believes that HIV is as much a condition fueled by societal discrimination as it is by a virus. As such, it makes her reporting socio-political as well as medical. She enjoys reporting on medical updates and making them relatable to readers’ lives. Enid has a special interest in sexual violence and sexual freedom, and in serving the sex trade worker and transgender communities. 


Carla Blieden, PharmD, MPH, AAHIVP, completed her Doctor of Pharmacy, Master of Public Health, and PGY1 Residency at the University of Southern California. She is certified as an HIV pharmacist and has worked as the clinical pharmacist at the Maternal, Child, and Adolescent/Adult Center, a family-centered HIV clinic in Los Angeles, for over a decade. She works directly with patients focusing on adherence to HIV medication, managing other chronic diseases, and analyzing HIV medication resistance. Dr. Blieden has been working closely with City of Los Angeles officials and the Los Angeles Fire Department on deployment of the influenza and COVID vaccinations. Dr. Blieden is Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Director of Student Outreach and Community Health at the USC School of Pharmacy. She reviewed the DHHS guidelines for this guide.