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HIV Life >> Living With HIV

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hopefulone
Master

Reged: 12/05/08
Posts: 130
Loc: NY, NY
cost of hiv
      #244285 - 02/02/09 09:30 PM

curious...what is the cost of hiv in terms of medical treatment...i am not currently on medicine and am curious what the disease costs some of you guys on an annual basis....thanks

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ScotCharles
Legend

Reged: 05/06/05
Posts: 924
Loc: Los Angeles
Re: cost of hiv new
      #244290 - 02/03/09 06:31 AM

I have good insurance, so my cost for the AIDS meds (I take Norvir, Atazanavir and Truvada) is $720 US a year. Lab costs are about $90 US a year and doctor's visits are $80 US a year. Once I qualify for Medicare next year (I am retired on an AIDS related disability) those costs will be paid by Medicare.

Without insurance, the AIDS meds are quite expensive with total costs for my regimen at around $16,000 per year. Even without insurance, if you qualify for assistance, there are many programs that can help with the cost of the meds. You can consult with your local AIDS service center or a knowledgeable social worker to find out about assistance.

Apart from the meds, one hospitalization for a PCP infection without insurance can cost you thousands. When I was hospitalized for PCP, my insurance paid most of my costs. I had a similiar experience when I was hospitalized for pancreatitis related to an allergic reaction to Viread.

Generally, the longer you have HIV the more you will spend in HIV related medical expenses. Most of the people in my Over 45 support group have had the virus for more than ten years and most of them have had a bad bout of something or other. Their problems have ranged from esophageal tumours, to severe depression, to Kaposi's Sarcoma, to wasting syndrome and to severe polyneuropathy.

My comments should not be taken that you will develop complications from an HIV infection. However, I have found that planning for an HIV infection when you are healthy is the best course. This means if you are in the US, which does not have socialized medicine, you should find a job with good health and long term disability benefits as well as ample sick leave for doctor's visits.

Be of good cheer, I have had HIV for nearly 25 years and I am still here, glad to see the new day.

Life truly is a river, live each day to the fullest,

ScotCharles

--------------------
Life is a river.
Carpe diem.

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hopefulone
Master

Reged: 12/05/08
Posts: 130
Loc: NY, NY
Re: cost of hiv new
      #244310 - 02/03/09 06:21 PM

thank you sharing....fortunately, i have excellent health insurance and job related benefits. i was curious to know what others have gone through, thanks. would love to hear from others.

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sick_of_fuckwits
Master

Reged: 01/26/09
Posts: 145
Re: cost of hiv new
      #244322 - 02/04/09 04:15 AM

As with most Europeans, I am fortunate enough to live in a country where access to care and treatment is a universal right that is provided free of charge and bureaucracy to everyone (who is in the country legally) irrespective of their ability to pay - and where providing free treatment is seen as a cost-effective means of maintaining me as a healthy functional (and taxpaying) member of society.

In the UK, the annual average not-for-profit (except for the drugs companies) cost to the state of providing all aspects of that care, treatment and side-effect management, to the highest of international standards, for someone who is receiving antiretroviral treatment is assessed at UK£16,500/US$23,500.

For someone like myself the cost will be significantly less - and for some of the older hands, who have been through the wringer of monotherapy, far more toxic drugs and years of accumulating damage, the cost will be significantly more.

--------------------
There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

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ScotCharles
Legend

Reged: 05/06/05
Posts: 924
Loc: Los Angeles
Re: cost of hiv new
      #244326 - 02/04/09 10:48 AM

Ruari is right. When I lived in the UK, once I was referred by my neighbourhood physician, I received excellent care fron the National Health. My doctor and I agreed that I would not start medications until my CD4 count reached 200 or my viral load reached 400K, numbers I continue to believe are appropriate thresholds for beginning treatment with potentially highly toxic AIDS meds.

In the US, doctors frequently start pateints on AIDS meds at a cd4 level of 400. When my cd4 level hit 400 in 1994, I too was started on meds, AZT at first, then Epivir and Zerit, and finally DDI alone. I quit all meds in 2001 as I believed the discomfort caused by the side effects I was experiencing was greater than the benefits I was receiving by taking meds.

Regardless of the fact that I came down with PCP with a CD4 count of 474 and a viral load of 374K, I continue to believe that starting meds should be put off until one reaches a cd4 count of 200 or a viral load of 400K. My PCP I put down to the effects of the stress of moving from Edinburgh to Los Angeles as well as my long term infection with the virus (25 years this September).

To return to the question, if you put off treatment with meds until you reach a cd4 of 200 or a viral load of 400K, you can greatly reduce the cost both of meds and of the long term effects of the meds on your liver and pancreas.

Mind you, my views are mine alone and should not be followed without consulting your Infectitious Disease Specialist.

Still here,

ScotCharles

--------------------
Life is a river.
Carpe diem.

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sick_of_fuckwits
Master

Reged: 01/26/09
Posts: 145
Re: cost of hiv new
      #244327 - 02/04/09 10:57 AM

Fashions and medical opinions on when to start treatment change almost as often as I change my underpants though. The current flavour of the day in the UK is a CD4 < 350 (but > 200) and will probably be changing to < 500 in the foreseeable future.

Random thought: What happens when the starting point eventually catches up with my medicated CD4 count?

Lifetime Cost of Living With HIV: $618,900 (from Fox news, November 02, 2006)

--------------------
There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

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Paul62Canada
Newbie

Reged: 02/04/09
Posts: 1
Re: cost of hiv new
      #244337 - 02/04/09 08:15 PM

I can't imagine how I would pay for HIV care in the USA. My provincial health care plan, which is paid for through income tax deducted at source and very modest provincial health-care premiums levied at tax time, covers ALL costs except medication. We call it "universal coverage".

My medication for my various conditions is remibursed at 100% through my employee beneift plan at work. This comes close to C$21,000 a year. I have to ante up the cost of the meds with my credit card, but it's reimbursed within a couple of weeks through direct deposit, which I simply transfer to MasterCard.

I was hospitalized three times last year for a total of six weeks, the second time having had major chest surgery for pneumonia that went very wrong (empyema). I estimate I've had about $500,000 in medical care over the past two or three years, at no cost to me, save for what I pay through my taxes and what I receive through my employee benefits plan (semi-private coverage and full drug benefits). I was under the care of some of the best thoracic surgeons and nurses in the country.

Other employee benefit plans often have 80% coverage with 20% co-pay, which can often be offset by application to the province, depending on which one you live in. Some provinces pay the full cost of medications for all its citizens(not Ontario).

Keep pushing for universal health care in the States with same coverage for every man, woman, and child. It is well worth it. One never has to worry about how he or she will pay for their healthcare. We may have less disposable income as a result of this, but the payoff is peace of mind. And don't believe the horror stories of "long queues". When your condition is serious or life-threatening in Canada, your case is expedited and you are given access to the best medical care possible (you might have to wait three or four for a bed to open up at a larger teaching hospital, but you are provided with quality care in your local hospital while you waitl).

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hopefulone
Master

Reged: 12/05/08
Posts: 130
Loc: NY, NY
Re: cost of hiv new
      #244343 - 02/04/09 09:22 PM

thank you are helpful in creating a peace of mind.

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ScotCharles
Legend

Reged: 05/06/05
Posts: 924
Loc: Los Angeles
Re: cost of hiv new
      #244347 - 02/05/09 08:35 AM

Fashions on when to start HIV meds do seem to change with the wind. However, I have seen so many of my friends die from complications because they began a therapy before all the side effects were sorted. One friend in particular was a healthy guy who taught yoga and Qui Gong (?) who started on Crixivan when it first came out. He developed a buffalo hump fairly quickly and then died of a massive heart attack a few months later. I understand that Crixivan is to be taken off the market soon.

I believe caution and a well informed mind are sometimes our best defense against the adverse consequences of taking AIDS meds. We must all remember that AIDS meds are highly toxic chemicals that work at the cellular level and the long term effects of taking these meds are not known.

Cheers,

ScotCharles


--------------------
Life is a river.
Carpe diem.

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MstrAlex1
Newbie

Reged: 02/05/09
Posts: 3
Loc: Michigan, USA
Re: cost of hiv new
      #244354 - 02/05/09 04:27 PM

I deal with the American system, but with the blessing of very good medical/drug insurance that continued even after I retired. Later this year I will move into Medicare coverage (age 65), which will increase my doctor costs (20% coinsurance rather than a flat $25 copay), but thankfully my drug coverage from my current insurace will continue.

Here is a breakdown of my expenses directly related to HIV:

  • Viramune and Truvada: $40 copay for each every 90 days ($320/year)

  • Infectious Disease specialist: $25 copay ($100/year)

  • Lab work: 20% coinsurance, about another $200/year

  • So that totals about $620/year.



  • Then there are some additional drug costs that are related to my Poz condition but are not specifically HIV drugs:

  • Valtex: $40 copay every 90 days ($160/year)

  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin generic): $20 copay monthly ($240/year)



  • If I did not have insurance here is approximate what I would be paying annually:

  • $ 4,545 - Viramune

  • $ 9,898 - Truvada

  • $ 4,023 - Valtrex

  • $ 1,858 - Bupropion

  • $ 1,000 - ID specialist

  • & 1,200 - Lab work

  • ---------

  • $22,524 - Approximate annual total expense



  • There is a far bigger cost, however, which is hidden, and that is lost wages. While my HIV viral load has been non-detectable for years and my CD4 count ranges from 600 to 950, I have had chronic fatigue from day one since I seroconverted in early 2003. I was forced to retire in early 2004 and have only been able to work part-time since then. I was a computer systems administrator and rather well paid. Depending on how much I can work part-time as a contract employee my loss has been roughly $40,000 to $80,000 per year. This impacts my funds to live on now, but has permanently reduced my pension benefits for the remainder of my life.


    --------------------
    Life is a sexually transmitted disease and it is invariably fatal. No one gets out of this alive!


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    bufguy
    Newbie

    Reged: 09/15/08
    Posts: 1
    Loc: Buffalo, NY
    Re: cost of hiv new
          #244355 - 02/05/09 04:57 PM

    I am extremely lucky with great insurance here in the US.
    I am a civil servant with Community Blue.
    I am on Atripla which costs me $10 for a 90 day supply. Out of pocket from the local pharmacy would be $5100 for 90 days.
    My co pay for my ID is $5. All lab costs are fully covered.

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    hopefulone
    Master

    Reged: 12/05/08
    Posts: 130
    Loc: NY, NY
    Re: cost of hiv new
          #244358 - 02/05/09 09:11 PM

    thank you, very enlightening.

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    hopefulone
    Master

    Reged: 12/05/08
    Posts: 130
    Loc: NY, NY
    Re: cost of hiv new
          #244359 - 02/05/09 09:16 PM

    my doctor wants me to be as healthy as i can to put off meds for as long as i can.

    in addition i blindly received merck v520 (as part of a study), which was the latest hope for an hiv vacceine....unfortunately in november 2007 it was determined that it was not effective....however the study is monitoring everyone to see what if any impact v520 has once you have hiv.....who knows maybe there is more to learn for those of us who have hiv and v520.......

    it is amazing to me what the cost of this disease is financially.....its awful.....let alone the costs emotionally and socially...and otherwise.

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    August69
    All Star

    Reged: 03/22/08
    Posts: 79
    Re: cost of hiv new
          #244388 - 02/07/09 06:13 AM

    In BC the cost of HIV Meds is covered by the government.

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    TonyF
    Regular

    Reged: 02/13/09
    Posts: 40
    Re: cost of hiv new
          #244519 - 02/13/09 02:08 PM

    currently... it costs me zero, unless you count groceries. Healthy food is pretty much the extent of my approach to fighting hiv, and it works fine (for me). I spend about $120 a week for groceries. Granted, when i thought i was neg, i only spent 40 bucks a week, but hell, if i'm going to be spending money, at least its for something healthy for my body.

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