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Kind of desperate
Feb 14, 2013

I was diagnosed with HIV back in April of 2012. Since then I have been fighting my insurance company to pay for meds and lab work. In August I was diagnosed with AIDS. As of Dec 2012 my CD4 count was 170, absolute CD 4 percentage 20, viral load I believe was 50,000. I am still not closer to being able to get on medications and I am starting to get worried. I know that it is hard to give a definitive answer, but how much time do you think I might have to get everything straightened out bf I were to develop a life threatening complication. I have a history of epilepsy, asthma, cerebral palsy, scoliosis, mitral valve prolapse, kidney stones, depression and anxiety issues, and recently HPV. Could these conditions complicate treatment when I am finally able to start meds? I have looked into the Ryan White Program, Pharmaceutical companies, etc and haven't had any luck so far. My insurance company will only pay up to 20% of the cost of the medications.

Response from Dr. Young

Hi and thanks for posting.

Sorry to hear about your situation. Do know that it's awfully important that you start on medications as soon as possible. With your CD4 count below 200, you meet lab benchmarks for AIDS- I'd hate to hear that you develop an AIDS complication while waiting to start on meds.

Your other medical conditions don't necessarily make HIV medications any less likely to work, though it seems probable that you could already be taking a lot of medications. We'd want to make sure that your ability to adhere to any additional medications for HIV doesn't overly complicate this.

If you've exhausted your conventional options to pay for medications (I'd ask your case manager or doctor to even make an appeal to the pharmaceutical companies programs- then sometimes can and do make exceptions to their standard qualification requirements for assistance), consider enrolling in a clinical trial- while not every clinical trial works best for every patient, if the match is right, the study can often provide free medications and laboratory testing for several years.

Hope that helps, and please feel free to write back, BY

Response from Mr. Chambers

Dr. Young answered your questions about the effect of other medical conditions affecting your HIV treatment and the need to start medications excellently.

If your plan covers only 20% of prescription medications, I'm sorry you got stuck with such a poor plan. I don't know what state you live in, however, all states operate an AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) which is federally funded under Ryan White. The breadth and availability of the program varies dramatically depending on what state you live in. Contact a local AIDS Service Organization who can give you more information. You may also want to search for "ADAP and (name your state)" in a browser.

Good luck, Jacques



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