Health Care?? What Happened??

March 14, 2017

by Angel S.

This blog post originally appeared on The Well Project’s A Girl Like Me blog.

This year I was looking forward to changes with the new president .

I realize it is a choice to get on an antiviral therapy and continue to strive to reach a undetectable viral load.

Today I went to fill my prescription.  $3209 deductible. That is quite a bump up from the usual co-pay.

What a surprise after 10 years of meds and adherence to stay healthy, all the while educating not only myself but my community in the importance in knowing your status. I cannot help to notice the error in health reform. This will set us back in the fight against HIV.

However it’s closer than that for me. I don’t have insurance right now. I was told I was accepted to receive Medicaid instead of the affordable care plan I was paying for.

I am really worried about what will happen after being off my meds for a while. Without insurance, I now lose access to knowing my labs, mental health services, therapy and doctors that I rely on to function without too many interruptions physically or mentally. With proper self-care, a person living with HIV is expected to live a full life.

I live in a world the same as yours . I don’t really know I have HIV unless stigma shows up or my meds are discontinued.

This is so strange to know without these meds I can become compromised–in fact, I can lose my detectable status and thus be able to transmit the virus. The chances of passing HIV to my sex partner is zero with an undetectable viral load. I practice safer sex; this still is a game changer. I am living healthy with minimal side effects at this time. I struggle with other mental health issues daily.

I don’t mind the change that has to be made to provide a better health care system for those of us living with chronic illnesses.

Today and each of the last 27 days, I almost have the overwhelming sensation I could potentially become ill. When I learned of my status, I began immediately on medication. Within my first month, I was undetectable and have stayed that way since.

I am not sure what is next for me and the thousand others affected by health care reform.  I have adjusted my diet to help where it can. I am exercising and reminding myself I can be proactive while figuring this out.

It all sucks; it is a another learning experience I will be able to take to others in the event I figure out a way to get meds; my way of finding a silver lining in every situation I am confronted with. I stay positive now. I was so scared of what could be. I am letting the fear be a moment of passing feelings and sticking to the facts.

I and we will not accept this. I have made the choice to be on the medication. What I am I supposed to do if I become resistant to the drugs by changing or losing insurance every month? Ugh–I’m just saying this struggle is so real.

Stay beautiful and poke the bear when necessary.

I am one voice that matters.