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Personal Story
A First HIV Pill -- and a Warm, Affirming Feeling
Part of the Series My First Pill

By Hopeful in LA

August 14, 2014

Brad Dalton

I took my first dose of Complera [rilpivirine/tenofovir/FTC] just two days ago.* Driving to pick up my prescription made me so nervous. I kept searching for a sign to not pick it up today. Just a few months ago, I was negative and saying I would hate to have to take a pill every day. I've always been relatively healthy and rarely ever took any kind of medicine.

But, alas, I contracted HIV at some point -- most likely just a couple of months ago since I had a high viral load (was just getting over the initial viral infection when initially tested), yet a negative antibody test. All my blood work showed great results and even improvements in T cells and a reduction in viral load each time (three tests within two months). So, it almost seemed too soon.

Maybe there's hope my herbs were doing the trick. I picked up the pills with just enough time to go eat and take the pill before a first rehearsal for a play. I was kind of a mess and knew I needed to pull myself together. The restaurant seemed to be out of everything I wanted and I had to eat a dish I normally would never eat as I was running out of time before rehearsal. I ended up sitting in my car after eating to have privacy. I opened the bottle and took out the pill and held it to my heart, closed my eyes and asked it to only do its healing function. My body filled with a warm, affirming feeling and I swallowed the pill and drove to rehearsal. Rehearsal went great. Two pills in now and so far so good.

* This story was submitted to on July 11, 2014.

What was your first pill? Whether it was AZT or Atripla, we want you to tell your story! Write out your story (between 200 and 1,000 words, please!) or film a YouTube video, and email it to We'll be posting readers' My First Pill stories here in our Resource Center on Starting HIV Treatment.

Read other stories in this series.

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