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Personal Accounts of Keeping Up With HIV Meds

Read about how everyday people such as yourself juggle their lives, love, responsibilities and meds.


A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life Video Series

Keeping up with HIV meds often means having to weave daily doses into a busy life. How do other HIVers do it? In each episode of this video series, we'll take a peek into the day-to-day routine of a person who's living with HIV, taking HIV meds, and dealing with situations that get in the way of adherence.

The Positive Project

First-Person Stories About People Taking HIV Treatment

In these videos from The Positive Project, nine HIVers sit in front of the camera and talk about what it's like to take HIV treatment, the side effects they've dealt with and some of the tricks they've learned for making sure they don't miss any doses.

Aaron Laxton

My Tips for HIV Drug Adherence

"Compliance and adherence is a must. That's what's going to get you to an undetectable viral load and a healthy CD4 level. ... The things the doctors tell you aren't merely suggestions; they're proven."

Me and My HIV Horse-Sized Pill Before Bed

"This is my nightly ritual and it will be the nightly ritual for me for the remainder of my life. Hopefully it'll be a long life. But I want all young people who watch this to know, it's not as simple as just taking one pill; it's taking one very expensive pill."


Lynda Arnold

My Truth: My Issues With Adherence
By Lynda Arnold

"While some of my adherence issues have been directly related to cognitive issues such as memory, scheduling etc., most of them have simply been because I hate taking these drugs so damn much that I simply shut down."

Bernadette Berzoza

Getting My Viral Load Down
By Bernadette Berzoza

"Over the past few years I have really fought and struggled to get my viral load down. It's been 23 years that I have been positive, and in the beginning it was just keeping your T cells up. Then the viral load was added. I was so freaked out when they told me my viral load was in the millions and we needed to change my meds to get it to undetectable. I did what was recommended but it wasn't working for me as they thought it would."

Richard Cordova III

Meth vs. Meds: A Tale of Self-Preservation
By Richard Cordova III

"Even though, in the beginning, I had no idea how my HIV medications worked, deep down I knew they were the only things that were going to keep me alive. At the time I had no stability in my life -- I was using crystal meth daily, my housing situation was tenuous at best, and I had no job. Not exactly a recipe for medication adherence!"

Brooke Davidoff

Money: The Biggest Challenge to Sticking With Meds
By Brooke Davidoff

"Meds: My meds are what keep me undetectable. Money: Money is what keeps me from sometimes getting my meds. ... One income for three people with no financial assistance is NOT so easy."

Ria Denise

What? Adherence? What About It?
By Ria Denise

"I am very aware of the challenges of not taking medicines especially when I have been through the wringer with a variety of health issues in the last few years. I have always had a strong belief in getting advice from someone who knows what it is like to be in your situation. I was curious on the opinions that would come forth once I asked my question on Facebook ..."

Teniecka Drake

At the End of the Day: Remembering Meds When Life's Run You Ragged
By Teniecka Drake

"I can recall an instance this year that made taking my medication quite challenging. I had decided to start cleaning houses to make some extra money. This was on a Saturday and I had two houses to clean. To make matters more interesting, my daughter's birthday party was on the same day."

Rev. Andrena Ingram

I'm Swallowing as Fast as I Can
By Rev. Andrena Ingram

"What I began doing after the AZT ... [was] the practice of 'talking to my body,' telling it and myself that 'we were going to begin this new regimen and we were going to do it as painlessly as possible. We were going to anticipate a few light side effects as we acclimated ourselves to the new drug, and then we were just going to keep it movin'!'"

Joe Ohmer

A Surprising Undetectable
By Joe Ohmer

"I didn't even really understand the significance of an undetectable viral load, because when those topics were being broached to me, I'd been diagnosed maybe six months earlier, I had suffered a stroke, and recovering as much as I could from being partially paralyzed as a result of that stroke was foremost in my head; I had no idea what the numbers meant."

Sarah and Carmen Anthony Sacco

Staying Adherent in the Midst of Early Childhood
By Sarah Sacco

"Whether it was the constant wakefulness of early infancy, cutting teeth, or more recently potty training and being sick, as a mom, I often find myself struggling to face mornings! I find that I am most likely to forget my meds when I am running late and particularly if I don't sit down to eat."

Reggie and Dionne Smith

Living Just a Little, Laughing Just a Little (Ain't Easy)
By Reggie Smith

"I remember when there were no medications at all, and very little if any hope for those of us who fought valiantly to enjoy the best quality life we could. We had to do so without the option of the 'lifesaving' medicines that we now find ourselves sometimes taking for granted."

Shannon R. Southall

I Am Here, 21 Years Later, Because of These Medications
By Shannon Southall

"Lying in the hospital my doctor came in and said there was this new drug available called Crixivan and he strongly recommended that I add this to my current regime. My viral load was 159,000 and these new meds show that they can reduce the virus in my system, therefore prolonging my life. So of course I said yes. ...

A few years ago I started to wonder about switching or stopping meds for a while. Then I met the man who would become my husband. He is HIV negative and I know that keeping my viral load down is crucial to maintaining a healthy sex life and reducing the risk of transmission to him."

Masonia Traylor

Reaching Undetectable While Pregnant
By Masonia B. Traylor

"I was proud of myself. It was a struggle mentally, emotionally and physically, especially because I was pregnant. But I must say that having an HIV-negative baby was the best result of my undetectable viral load."

Jermaine Wright

Breaking the Silence on My Struggle With HIV Meds
By Jermaine Wright

"I have people to please, people that follow what I am saying so I have to be ready to set the example. So I started the medicine. At first it was OK. I was able to take them every day without thinking about it. Most days I forgot I even had HIV until it was time for me to take those pills. Then those days started to become more frequent. Then I started to resent those pills. For me those pills were a constant reminder that I AM LIVING WITH HIV."

Read more personal accounts of staying adherent to HIV/AIDS medications.



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