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long term survivor crisis

Jun 7, 2007


I am a person living with HIV/AIDS. I was diagnosed with AIDS in 1995 and due to my failing health had to leave my job at that time. Fortunately I had short term disability insurance but that only lasted for one year. Since then I have been receiving Social Security Disabilty, Medicare and medicaid. My health has greatly improved due to new drugs and I am now basically healthy except for mild side effects from the drugs. But now I am feeling stuck and trapped in a situation which I know that many of my friends and 100s of thousands of people are stuck in. I am unable pay my rent on what I receive from Social Security Disabilty and I am forced to work under the table at a job I do not like just to make ends meet. I am unable to get a good/desirable/real job because I would not be able to get insurance and would be unable to pay my medical bills or my life saving drugs. So I feel trapped, stuck, frustrated.

I have contacted many HIV/AIDS organizations/agencies and government agencies to see about what can be done to help people in my situation and get no response or that they cannot help me.

I would love to start an organization or agency to help people in my situation. I know there are hundreds of thousands of us stuck in the same situation.

The HIV/AIDS Crisis is not over as many people seem to think. It just has a new face.

Response from Dr. Horwath

I certainly agree that the HIV/AIDS crisis is not over. In many ways it has grown worse. HIV prevalence is growing in many places even though we know how to prevent its spread. Most people in the world with HIV/AIDS do not have access to antiretroviral medications. There is a growing number of orphans who have lost both of their parents to AIDS.

So I agree that the HIV/AIDS crisis is not over. Even in a country like ours, in which we are blessed with the resources to make antiretroviral medications widely available to those who need them, the problems of chronic or recurrent illness, inability to work and financial hardship continue to plague many people with HIV/AIDS. We have a long way to go.


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