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Do You Have a Routine to Keep Up With Your HIV Meds?

May 21, 2014

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Do You Have a Routine to Keep Up With Your HIV Meds?

Keeping up with an HIV medication regimen is a struggle that many people who are living with HIV have. However, very few people want to speak out about it. "If medication is saving your life, why wouldn't you remember to take it every day?" some might say. However, for those who are having trouble adhering, support is crucial. One of the best ways to adhere to your meds is to establish a daily routine that makes taking medication as normal as possible. Here, a few people living with HIV discuss their feelings on regimen routines.

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Michael Storm on Keeping Up With Meds While Dealing With Mental Health Issues

Inspiring stories of people living with HIV.

So what is your treatment like on the HIV side? What are the adherence issues that you may have or you know, how do you deal with taking your meds for bipolar disorder and also HIV? Is that hard for you?

It's become a daily routine for me. I incorporate it into my morning routine of having coffee. You know, you get up, you do the "shower and shave" bit and then when I'm about to have coffee, I always make it a point to be the first thing I do with my first sip, take my medicine. As far as adherence, I find that one of the medications I take I have to take twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. The majority of the medications, the other medications, are all at once in the morning. So that's easy. The hard part is that last one at the end of the night. Because, sometimes, I forget. I go to bed, and I'll be in bed already and the medicine is only like three or four feet away, right next to my bed. And for some reason, I just won't take it sometimes, you know I'll be like "Oh, whatever." And then there are times that I kick myself in the butt, and I say "Get up, it's only three or four feet away, go and take your medicine." And so what I've learned is to dry swallow [laughs], cause I won't have anything to drink and that's usually a good excuse. "I don't have anything to drink," or, "I don't wanna go downstairs to get a glass." And so, now, it's like: get up, take it, dry swallow and forget about it. You know?

Make sure to watch or read the full interview with Michael.

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This article was provided by TheBody.
See Also
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: Ry (CA) Fri., Jun. 20, 2014 at 9:48 pm UTC
Anyone that has trouble remembering to take their meds (& have an iPhone), go to the App Store and download 'pillboxie'. It's a life saver, you can set "nagging" reminders that literally will buzz you with an alarm of your choosing every minute on the minute constantly until you take the required dosage at the set time. You can snooze, again at the length of your choosing, and once the snooze is up it'll start nagging and beeping and bothering you until you are so annoyed and stop what you are doing to take the pills. Lol I frekN love it!
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Comment by: Dave Jones (Wilton Manors, Florida) Thu., Jun. 5, 2014 at 10:36 am UTC
As most people do, I take my meds first thing after I get up in the morning. Without thinking about it, (because otherwise I wouldn't), I quickly swallow one pill at a time then be glad its over!!! I have always had trouble being adherent to taking meds regularly & it has had irreversible effects on treatment after 30 yrs with this virus. If my current cocktail were to stop working I would be in trouble because I have made myself resistant to most meds available by starting & stopping meds, it is not a position anyone wants to be in!!! I learned by my mistakes & hope others take note to be responsible about taking their meds regularly!!! Thanks, Dave (Hiv/AIDS-30yrs.)52yrs old
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Comment by: bearby (Birmingham, AL) Thu., May. 29, 2014 at 8:31 pm UTC
Honey never let using a dedicated medicine box make you feel old :) !
I used one of those types of daily medicine boxes I was issued at the hospital upon my diagnosis of aids now whereas that poor thing was marked for those needed to take meds four times a day and I was on a twice a day cocktail my ever loving husband hit on the idea of setting up my meds for two weeks a month by using the mid day slot as the nightly dose instead of leaving it empty.
Well needless to say that medicine box has long been gone and I bought several of the one a day med boxes at dollar tree ( and I even bought a set of smaller one at a time med boxes at a local flea market for when I can travel which is of course rarely but very welcome when I can save up for a tip to some place nearby ).
Now where as some people might see the use of daily med boxes " as an old person's thing " my devoted husband at times forgets to take his diabetic meds so I suggested one of the daily med boxes with a timer on it to remind him when to take his meds to which he replied " like I need such a thing with you and your cell fone calling to remind me to take my meds at 8 pm if u r not at home with me " and he's going to turn 69 this year no less and even when he brings me my meds at 8am if I have not yet risen from a welcome nights slumber he has no qualms about picking up my own med box from it's usual place to wake me up and present them to me with some milk ( his drink of choice to swallow his own maintence meds ) .
SO fear not growing old if having a daily medicine box reminds U as to if u have or have not taken u r meds just consider it as a fact of life that your staying on track to keep your self ALIVE and healthy too boot !
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Comment by: David Kelly (Hawaii) Thu., May. 29, 2014 at 6:23 pm UTC
I keep a calendar on the back of my medicine cabinet door and check them off as a.m. & p.m.
P.S. Keep a pen in your medicine cabinet. 57 years old and 30 years poz !! Much gratitude for my life !
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Comment by: BaltPoz (Baltimore, Md) Thu., May. 29, 2014 at 3:40 pm UTC
Having been poz for about 30 years, I remember the good old days when some pills had to be taken with food, some without, some two hours after a meal... I had a spreadsheet and an alarm on my watch to keep it all straight.

Now I just have morning meds (some with food) and evening pills (food optional). I don't care if it makes me look like an oldster, but using two 7-day pill containers that I fill once/week makes it very easy. I have them marked AM and PM and leave them in a drawer in my kitchen. After I take my morning pills I move the PM container to the front of the drawer. After my evening needs I move the AM container to the front.nI never have to remember if I took my meds - just look in the drawer. If it's morning and the PM container is in front I know I took my morning pills. Having a set routine to follow makes it easy.
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Comment by: Southernbell (NC) Thu., May. 22, 2014 at 6:44 pm UTC
I have been positive for 11 yrs now and in the beginning I always remembered to take my meds twice a day. However after having a child, HIV negative, I seemed to forget everything. I had to start setting an alarm on my cell phone to remind me. As life got busier and more hectic I had to give in and buy one of those pill boxes with the days marked on them. At 32 yrs old that sure made me feel old. But it keeps me on track with my meds and that's what most important!
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