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Not Taking Meds
Jan 19, 2009

I was diagnosed over two years ago and was diagnosed with a cd4 of 275 and a viral load of 750k...they immediately put me on meds i skyrocketed in 3 months to 947cd4 and a 15k vl...i chose to go off the meds....my levels dropped drastically until about 6 months ago (my last dr visit) i was at 281cd4 (12%) cd8 was at 62% and a vl of 275k. I am having troubles with goin on the meds. I hear horrible stories about the side effects so here is my issue...I have lived a great life, I have loved I have been loved I have risen to the top of my career I have held a new born baby been to paris hahaha all of it....I want to go out LIVING not on medication that keeps me from living life to the fullest....recently I have been experiencing a lot of mouth pain and body and muscle fatigue....I have recently started my own company prolly a stupid decision so now I can't get insurance for the life of me as mine lapsed and I didn't do COBRA....so even if I wanted to start meds, I could afford the 1500 a month they want for them but it seems silly to just draw out my life and be miserable with side effects rather than just go out happy....i am not suicidal, i don't want to die but I know we only get one life and if we live it right one is enough and I have lived a great life and at the age of 31 if I were to die tomorrow I would die happy....what advice can you give about the muscle and mouth pain if any and what advice can you give about affording medication if I so choose without the possibility of insurance and then what if I choose to stay off the meds as I am doing now....what does this look like???

Response from Dr. Young

Wow, a difficult situation.

Firstly, with your CD4 count and percentage, I'd strongly recommend getting back on HIV treatments. A CD4 percentage of 12 meets AIDS criteria and places all that you've done with your family and business at risk.

Add to this your pain and fatigue....

If you've only just started your company, it's possible that your taxable income level from the past year makes you eligible for patient assistance from pharmaceutical companies; I'd recommend talking to your local AIDS service organization or case manager to see if you're eligible. Different companies have different criteria for assistance; there may be local medication banks for persons in your situation too.

To me, staying off medications is not an option with your symptoms and labs; the real issue is finding the way to get you access without either jeopardizing your health or your business.

I hope this helps. Write back anytime with follow up or questions.

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