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.
Episode 13: Garbo Chang
Home: San Francisco, Calif.
Summary: "At this point in my life, I really want to maintain my health," says Garbo Chang, who has been living with HIV for 25 years. Garbo works 9 to 5 all week, and budgeting time and money for relaxation is a top priority for relieving stress. This video follows Garbo aboard a cruise ship with good friends; he shares his fun experiences, as well as tips for adhering to HIV meds at home, on the job and on the high seas.
Episode 12: J'Mia Edwards
Home: Washington, D.C.
Summary: "A lot of people think I'm perfect, and I'm far from perfect." You may have seen J'Mia Edwards in the powerful documentary The Other City -- but being an inspiration to others doesn't make anyone immune to adherence challenges. J'Mia -- single mom of three, full-time student and counselor at an HIV organization for Washington, D.C., youth -- talks about how she gets support in her busy life. "I do everything that most everybody does -- probably do it 10 or 20 times better!"
Episode 11: George Burgess
Home: Atlanta, Ga.
Summary: "I had to be adherent on several levels," says George Burgess, who used street drugs for 27 years before his HIV diagnosis. "One, taking my medication; two, going to meetings and making sure that I remain drug free." A longtime HIV resource specialist, George shares his daily routine -- including one way he's found for helping his meds go down a bit more sweetly.
Episode 10: Robert Breining
Home: Philadelphia, Pa.
Summary: Cyber-activist Robert is used to connecting with community online. After having a rare allergic reaction to his first regimen, Robert was hesitant to start HIV meds again -- so he took to TheBody.com and POZ I AM, the social network he created, for information and support. Robert speaks on life, love, disclosure and finding a regimen that's nearly side effect-free.
Episode 9: Nelson Vergel
Home: Houston, Texas
Summary: "I never had an undetectable viral load until three years ago," says longtime treatment activist Nelson Vergel. Between HIV meds and supplements, Nelson takes about 45 pills a day -- and he's on the last available HIV drug combination he can try. Nelson shares how he stays fit, relaxed and on top of his complicated regimen -- and how he keeps perspective, and manages his fears.
Episode 8: Fortunata Kasege
Home: Houston, Texas / New York City
Summary: "The car didn't kill me, and I'm not going to let HIV kill me either!" Advocate, single mom and Tanzanian émigré Fortunata Kasege talks about keeping up with her twice-a-day med regimen -- even following the car accident that left her temporarily in a wheelchair.
Episode 7: Petra Berrios and Efrain Carrasquillo
Ages: 51 and 48
Home: Bronx, N.Y.
Diagnosed: 1986 and 1990
Summary: "There's days that she's my rock," says Efrain Carrasquillo of his wife, Petra Berrios. She says the same about him; the couple met in 2004 and married soon after. Like anyone living with HIV, both have days when they're sick of taking HIV meds. They share tips they use to get through rough patches.
Episode 6: Khafre Abif
Home: Atlanta, Ga.
Summary: Even in the '90s, while working and raising a young son, Khafre Abif stayed mindful of sticking to his HIV meds. "I cannot be a successful father, activist, writer, or advocate if I'm not taking care of myself first," he says. He shares his tips for staying healthy and adherent.
Episode 5: Brooke Davidoff
Home: Seattle, Wash.
Summary: "Why should I have to choose between groceries and my medication?" Brooke Davidoff asks. Brooke started taking HIV meds to protect her son while she was pregnant. Now her family can no longer afford for her to take them. Brooke and her husband speak on this most objectionable adherence challenge.
Episode 4: Robert Darrow
Home: Shreveport, La.
Summary: "I'm so happy to wake up each day and do what I love," says Robert. He's talking about the community theater he runs, as well as the AIDS service organization he cofounded and is still involved with after more than two decades. Robert shares several tricks that help him take his HIV meds religiously.
Episode 3: Eva Hansen
Home: Atlanta, Ga.
Summary: "If there's a plane leaving, I want to be on it!" says longtime HIV survivor Eva Hansen of one of her favorite hobbies. Eva shares why she adores traveling -- and what she's learned about trotting the globe with HIV meds in tow.
Episode 2: Tree Alexander
Home: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Summary: Tree Alexander was diagnosed around age 20, started meds right away, and became homeless for a short time afterward. He shows us around his Brooklyn apartment, and shares how family and friends help him stay healthy.
Episode 1: Damaries Cruz
Home: Deerfield Beach, Fla.
Summary: Damaries Cruz discusses her fears about starting meds, the strategies she uses to make sure she adheres to her meds and how her circle of friends help her get through every day.
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