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Frustration with the system
Jun 25, 2011

Hi,

I recently went to a VA center while on a trip with my family. I needed a refill for my HIV meds and the VA center I usually go to had already mailed out my meds. Since the flight was on Saturday, I couldn't access the office mailbox. Anyway, I went to the VA and they put an wrist band on me and made me sit and wait for about 2 hours. Eventually after two doctors and a blood test I finally got issued an emergency 30 day supply. Is this normal? I'm thinking that the protocol and delay is for security reasons. From what I read many people try and steal them and sell them on the street, so it may be a way of maintaining control. I've been on disability for four years from an AIDS diagnosis and an opportunistic infection. I'm thinking I may never work again and it seems we are treated like lepers. I went from being grateful to being angry after seeing what this disease has done. I've lost friends, job, income, health, reputation and self esteem.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

One of the most challenging aspects of living with HIV is maneuvering the sometimes overwhelming bureaucracies that have been set up to address so many complex needs. These systems move slowly and it can be extremely frustrating, especially if one is not feeling well, or has to go to multiple offices by public transportation, or repeat the same information in various agencies, to name a few common complaints. The good news is that you were able to get the medications you need. You, like many others, have lost a great deal to this virus. The best way I know to handle that is to identify and verbalize your feelings with others - a support group, a therapist, or family and friends. Although one has every right to strong feelings, I know that focusing exclusively on hurt or anger can rob someone of being in the present. Sharing your feelings will help move you toward an increased level of acceptance. You may also find that directing your passion into advocacy to improve the system on behalf of yourself and others is a great way to empower yourself and improve the quality of life for many.

-David



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