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A Day in the Life: Nelson Vergel on Wellness, Worry and Multidrug-Resistant HIV (Video)

October 16, 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 9: Nelson Vergel

Age: 51

Home: Houston, Texas

Diagnosed: 1986

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.

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

Filmed and produced by Mark S. King.

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

This article was provided by TheBody.
See Also
A Day in the Life Video Series

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Neal C (Burnsville, MN) Wed., Jul. 31, 2013 at 4:13 pm UTC
What an excellent video! It was very moving, and it doesn't hit a person over the head who may be struggling with adherence issues. It would be great to see Virgil do a companion video on Emotional Resilience skills, as I feel this video focused a bit more on Exercise/Physical Health Reliance skills. I believe, and it has been my experience, that if a person is able to feel, to express, and to release their feelings, it can be very healing and it help increase adherence, too. The combination of Physical Resilience skills along with Emotional Resilience skills, I believe, would not only help us all with adherence, but would also increase our quality of life,too. Peace and Hope...27 years and still going strong.
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Comment by: iadore (india) Wed., Jul. 31, 2013 at 3:19 pm UTC
hi the video is not playing correctly..very glitchy!
But Thank you for whatever I saw :)
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Comment by: Joe Lee (UK) Sat., Apr. 27, 2013 at 2:22 pm UTC
45 Pills a day? Do you mean 4 to 5 pills a day? Atripla from Gillead Science is 1 pill with 3 different drugs and stirbild is similar, i have never heard of anyone taking 45 drugs a day,
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Comment by: Robert Whiteside (Phoenix/Palm Springs) Tue., Mar. 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm UTC
Thanks for the perspective Nelson, nice boost!
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Comment by: rigo Sat., Mar. 9, 2013 at 8:08 am UTC
sound quality not the best, speaks also rather fast.
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Comment by: Voice of Reason (East Texas, USA) Mon., Feb. 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm UTC
I always enjoy your Video's and "Brains with opinions" Thanks, for being a great resource of valuable information! Later on....
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Neal (Burnsville, MN) Wed., Jul. 31, 2013 at 4:15 pm UTC
East Texas, USA. Love your words, "Brains with opinions." Excellent.

Comment by: nice guy (College Station,TX) Tue., Jan. 29, 2013 at 7:28 pm UTC
This was a great video to see.I was diagnosed over a year ago and I take atripla (which is three medicines in one). It has helped keep my hiv under control greatly. This video really helps put things into prospective watching this video. I was blown away by how many pills he had to take. I thought having to take one pill was pain but he is able to stay on top of many pills on a daily basis. This is amazing and I appreciated his voice on the reality of his situation which is his own fears he has to stay on top of. This is truly motivating for me and others:]
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Comment by: Jon (Piemonte, Italy) Wed., Jan. 23, 2013 at 5:26 am UTC
Thank you sooooo much for this lovely video! I admire your fresh take on living life and embracing HIV rather than fearing it. I have been pos for 5 years also having to have started medication nearly immediately. There is not a day that goes by HIV thought free and I am often depressed, however I manage to channel this into productivity. Anyways...I wanted to share my gratitude with you. By the way, great bod!

Hugs from Italy
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Comment by: Nu (Durban,south africa) Sun., Jan. 13, 2013 at 1:17 am UTC
Thanks 4 updates.i was diagnosed two months back.cd4 count of 346.viral load was 247 000.if im not mistaken.i was den started on odimune which should be taken at night.getting sick(dizzy)because im working night duty.what can be the the right time to take it
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Comment by: Adrian (Bogota) Wed., Jan. 9, 2013 at 8:21 pm UTC
Tu eres una inspiracion para nosotros que somos HIV positivos. Tu has demostrado que uno puede llevar una vida razonablemente normal, que somo tan iguales como el resto de las personas. Eres admirable y un ejemplo a seguir. Yo te leo en The Body todas las semanas, de hecho fusite muy cortes en contestar mis correos con preguntas en el foro de the body. Yo te auguro una larga vida, sabes porque? porque te lo mereces y lo deseas. Que dios te bendiga. Un abrazo desde Colombia!
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Comment by: nobuhle (south africa) Fri., Dec. 28, 2012 at 8:59 am UTC
what causes the drug resistance? and how can one prevent it?
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Comment by: Rick (Charlotte, NC) Mon., Dec. 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm UTC
Thanks for sharing. Its always good getting another persons perspective. I'm also one of those people who has tried basically every cocktail. My numbers have been up and down for 17 years. Many times my viral load will go up at the same time my t-cells go up as well. This has happened several times and the doctors can't figure it out. I try not to get too worried about the numbers. I take alot of pills too (including cholesterhol, ect) but I'm thankful that I have access to medication the funds to pay for them.
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Comment by: JCC (MEXICO CITY) Fri., Nov. 23, 2012 at 12:12 am UTC
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Comment by: Hari S. (Delhi) Tue., Nov. 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm UTC
Nice 2see your past 25yrs Positive life with good treatment adherence..I m HIV+ past 18yrs..Really ur life encouraging me..Hugs
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Comment by: Dan (WI) Fri., Nov. 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm UTC
Nelson, I've seen several of your helpful nutrition and exercise videos you've made with Mark King over the last couple of years. Thank you for sharing your concerns and fears with us, too. It helps. You are a superhero and a human! :-)
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Comment by: Ken (Malaysia) Tue., Oct. 30, 2012 at 8:43 am UTC
Nice story, I never new one can live with HIV for thats long, because they are many people that are on medication and they still get ill and die after some years. I really have to be around someone that really knew how to take his medication, take the right food and also do the right exercise, am newly affected with HIV and i have been reading a lot from the Internet before i proceed with medication, But most people take just 2 to for pill a day, why are you taking 45 pill?? does that makes it better ?
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Comment by: Antonio (Buenos Aires) Mon., Oct. 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm UTC
Nelson, tu experiencia me da mucho animo, eres muy valiente, muy afortunado en sobrellevar tantos aņos y verte tan bien, se que el aspecto psicologico es fuerte a veces pero sabes que en tu interior hay una fuerza extrema que te sacara adelante y te hara sentir mejor en los momentos de miedo y bajones que son normales
Yo afortunadamente tomo 1 sola pildora por dia de Atripla y estoy indetectable hace ya varios meses llevo dos de infectado, pero tengo esperanzas que algo saldra pronto. Tu experiencia me da fuerzas para seguir adelante y no aflojes nunca. Muchas Gracias por compartir con nosotros, nos hace bien.
For those who do not speak Spanish, I want you all to know than Nelson is a great guy and sharing his experience is awsome, he has some inner forth and strengh that makes him strive and keep going against all odds, this guy is amazing and makes us all feel in some way with a lot of hope depite of everything
keep on going Nelson and thank you once again for your help
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Comment by: Juan (Spain) Mon., Oct. 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm UTC
Thank you soooo much for this video. Big hug. Juan
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Comment by: Tee (Washington, DC) Tue., Oct. 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm UTC
Great video :) Really inspiring.
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Comment by: Anonymous Sun., Oct. 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm UTC
Nelson, thank you for sharing your experience, strength, and insight into surviving this illness, and thank you, Mark, for another beautifully produced video that will surely benefit thousands of people. You're both wonderful, helpful, and inspiring :-)
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Comment by: Leah (Kamloops, Canada) Sun., Oct. 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm UTC
You say you take supplements. I've been on Truvada, Reyatez and Norvir for over a year now. My blood tests came back recent with high cholesterol and potassium. I've changed my diet and started taking multivitamins, fish oil, calcium, B12, macca, a whey protein, I've upped my fiber intake and have started to exercise again. I'm very worried about my potassium level, don't see the doc for a week or so. I'm scared to eat anything with potassium in it which leaves a lot of food out. I'm not sure what supplements will help or hinder. Of course I have a lot of questions now for my doctor but having to wait is whats frustrating me. I've read a lot of the dangers of high potassium if in my case that is so, wouldn't my doctor want to deal with it right away? I'm 38yrs old, single mom and I need to be on top of these things.
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