Thursday, July 12, 2012

Some Facts About HIV Meds

I've seen a few misguided articles on the Internet about HIV meds and I wanted to share a few links. It really bothers me when I see wrong information out there, because it's doing a disservice to those who don't know much about HIV and who might be at risk of becoming HIV positive. Or worse, those in denial about being HIV positive. And part of the problem is it's so hard to find information about HIV, especially updated information.

As a sidenote, I spent the morning at University of Pennsylvania Hospital with a friend who is HIV. I've posted about that before. His doctor, Dr. Jay Kostman, is one the of the leading HIV specialists in the world. Each time I go I learn something different, I meet new people, and I see how hard so many people are working to help those with HIV. I often feel guilty I'm not doing enough. So maybe a post like this will help someone else who doesn't know the facts. And trust me, there's a lot of bad information floating around.

My friend, for example, has AVN as a result of his medications. The doctor considered him a "pure" example because he's not an alcoholic, doesn't abuse drugs, and isn't obese and doesn't smoke. In this case, my friend is the case study. And that's because there isn't enough information out there to make a clear determination about most of the side effects he's having. But he has them. And so do most of the other people I know with HIV.

I honestly don't mind authors and bloggers with fake identities. It doesn't bother me in the least as long as they keep it simple. In other words, stay out of territory you don't know anything about, or at least make an effort to post about it correctly. There are some things that are just too serious to screw around with.

http://aids.about.com/od/medicationfactsheets/a/hivmedsheets.htm

http://www.aidsinfo.nih.gov/contentfiles/SideEffectAnitHIVMeds_cbrochure_en.pdf

http://www.poz.com/

On the brighter side, HIV is not a death sentence anymore and people living with HIV as a chronic illness are doing better now than they've ever done with the new meds. I don't want this post to sound all gloom and doom; just factual and realistic. And as new meds continue to be developed, they will most likely continue to do well. I've read articles about vaccines and cures that sound promising, too. But whenever you have a chronic illness there are always side effects. And the cost of HIV meds runs into thousands of dollars a month...even if you can get on a gov't program you still have to pay something. So the best way to avoid all this if you're not HIV positive is to make sure you stay that way. And I don't think I have to explain that in detail.

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