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A Day in the Life Video Series: Brooke Davidoff on Stopping Meds for Financial Reasons

February 13, 2012

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. Watch other videos in the series.

Episode 5: Brooke Davidoff

Age: 33

Home: Seattle, Wash.

Diagnosed: 2010

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.

Keeping up with HIV meds often means weaving daily doses into busy lives. 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 w

Produced by Mark S. King.

Copyright © 2012 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

This article was provided by TheBody.
See Also
Voice of ONE: Brooke Davidoff's Blog
A Day in the Life Video Series
6 Reasons Why People Skip Their HIV Meds
Word on the Street: Advice on Adhering to HIV Treatment
More Personal Accounts of Staying Adherent to HIV/AIDS Medications

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Sarah (Los Angeles) Wed., Apr. 25, 2012 at 1:20 am UTC
If you can't afford kids, don't have kids.
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Comment by: t.p. (nyc) Mon., Apr. 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm UTC
i'm sorry but with all due respect, this is just a really rude, oversimplifying comment. all sorts of circumstances happen in life that make people have to make hard financial choices, *after* they plan for, conceive and have children, as in this case. getting rid of your kids can't be the only solution available

Comment by: Janeth (Tanzania) Fri., Mar. 30, 2012 at 6:50 am UTC
This is so fantastic. May Almighty God help you.
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Comment by: Concerned (USA) Fri., Mar. 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm UTC
Ok, it is alarming that you are not on meds. Has your husband thought of getting a 2nd shift job, a 3rd shift job, a part time job? My husband works 3rd shift and keeps the kids during the day while I work, yes he's tired, but we need the money... you have a life threatening illness, you need medications. I'm not judging by any means, but his lack of sleep vs you getting sick? It's a no brainer, sorry.
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Comment by: Laurie (Colorado) Wed., Jul. 24, 2013 at 10:08 pm UTC
First you need to know that a second third or even 4 th job would keep this beautiful couple above the crazy costs for living with HIV. Medicine alone for 1 month can run between, 3,000.00 to 6,000 dollars a month. Not including a blood draw for 1,200 to make sure meds are not causing adverse reactions or r working. The drugs can't be taken one day & not another or resistance happens. I admire this couple and ask pharmacies to lower costs. We studied the medicine in our bodies it should be cheaper. Not just for HIV MEDS BUT ALL MEDICINE! 1.8 million dollars to stay alive with aids if tested in your twenties in America.

Comment by: Johnson F. (Atlanta, GA) Tue., Mar. 20, 2012 at 11:24 am UTC
Living with hiv is challenging and the most compounded problem is the co-payment. for instance, instance prescription solution willcharge $70.00 and without this have you medication.. Is there any organization out there help with copayment for hiv med? please help... maily for the unemployed
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Comment by: michael (los angeles) Wed., Mar. 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm UTC
johnson F,

it depends on what state you live in. your first best option is to go to a county clinic or your state's health department/clinic. often times, they have an hiv program that is funded by donations for little to no income patients, then they will most likely refer you to an ADAP program. unfortunately, that is where it gets tricky. some states now have a waiting program for ADAP. you can also try and inquire churches for hiv support groups that knows or provide assistance for low income individuals such as clinic visits, meds, food, etc. hope that helps.

Comment by: Constance (new york) Sat., Mar. 10, 2012 at 5:11 am UTC
generic prescriptions runs very cheaply out of the country, most reliable is canada. with a little research, you can find reputable pharmacies that will mail these prescriptions. usually, you are "technically" allowed a 90 day supply to be delivered to you. it is a gray area, but the fda realizes it is a necessity. viraday (generic atripla) can be found to be as cheap as less than $200/month, compared to a $1500 bottle of atripla in the US. sickening that the so called greatest country in the world has to outsource its healthcare to other countries. Sometimes, it can't be helped to do these things. But this huge savings might be enough for you to consider getting back to medication and looking after yourself.

please take care....
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Comment by: Adam Wed., Mar. 14, 2012 at 1:38 am UTC
Generics are the holy grail of waking from the drug cost nightmare, and like the holy grail, for many of us in the US, they're a myth. I've spent hundreds on "generics", and investigated the companies that sell them until I was blue in the face, only to wish I had my time and money back. I asked one company to provide me with the number to their dispensing pharmacy: I got a phone sex hotline. Many of these flash fancy, official looking logos, but upon making an inquiry to the REAL canadian drug association, they had no formal relationship with the organization. Another company just never delivered. I've never met anyone in real life who has actually had any success getting ahold of generics HIV meds.

Despite all of this, drug costs have yet to be a problem with drug access. I don't want to jinx myself, but I've two jobs since testing poz, and all have had reasonable copays that are less than the out of pocket for generics. Throw in patient assistance programs, and there's usually a affordable system in place (lab work on the other hand is a different story). Rather than kill yourself (and you are killing yourself without meds), or gamble with mysterious generics, why don't you just look into changing jobs? It sounds like you got stuck on a crappy group plan.
Comment by: John Fri., Mar. 30, 2012 at 4:46 am UTC
Adam. You said rather than kill yourself in reference to not having meds. For many people with HIV, they can barely have 1 job. 2 would certainly kill them. 2 jobs with a family will definitely kill them....working almost 16 hours and taking care of the family.

For the blogger's case, assistance programs that matters like ADAP are out of the question. They will categorize her as making too much. The "coupons" from manufacturers are a joke. And it seems like finding another job that pays as much will be a big problem if the family is already dependent on the income.
Comment by: Adam Sun., Apr. 1, 2012 at 10:58 am UTC
Part of what is frusterating about this virus is the way we all race to the bottom. Anyone who offers a suggestion or a solution to a concern is cast as living in some sort of rarified bubble. In my case, this is just not true, and I highly resent being lectured about things I never said. I did not tell her to get a second job. I told her to "change jobs", as in "quit the job with a bad insurance plan in favor of a better one".

I'm well aware of the hardships that come from this virus. I even referenced my own problems financing labs. Since we're engaging in some victimization olympics and my opinion does't count unless I can prove that I've suffered, I'm also concerned about job stability. I do however have enough gumption to look up where Ms. Davidoff works and what she does, and so it occurred to me that she could probably pursue employment with a different company. Her skill set is transferable, and her employer isn't known for its outsize salaries. Rather than proclaim that a solution to her problem had been found, I even assumed she'd thought of that, and framed my suggestion as a question to see why she remained there.

Please don't lecture me on how hard people's lives are with HIV. I know. I've also worked two jobs while negative, and wouldn't recommend that course of action to anyone, regardless of HIV or life circumstances. To be clear, that was NOT what I was recommending here.

Too much of HIV politics is dedicated to describing the problem and telling our story without offering a solution. The result is a young mother who is now off meds, and anyone who tries to help her find a soltion is now hesitant, for fear that they might be lectured about how hard life is with HIV, as if we don't know. Let's be clear, Brooke doesn't need "oh you poor thing", she needs ARVs. I offered a solution. It might not work, but its a heck of a lot better than a paragraph reframing how big the problem is, and nodding to how some people can't work.

Comment by: Paul (Canada) Sat., Mar. 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm UTC
I am curious why your husband does not work? From my understanding reading your blogs now and then he has not worked for a while?
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Comment by: Brooke Davidoff (Seattle, WA) Wed., Mar. 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm UTC
He's a stay home daddy. He worked until we had our son and my job paid better than his. We could not afford daycare so he quit his job to be a stay home daddy.

Comment by: JB (Portland, Maine) Thu., Feb. 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm UTC
Girl I have been in a similar situation. would love to help you and your husband, best to you both. So glad that so far you all are healthy.
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