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Prison Doctor Just Switched Me to Genvoya, and I Don't Know What to Expect

By Tim Hinkhouse

February 7, 2017

Hello there readers: I wanted to write and let you know that I finally got to see Dr. Dan Dewsnup yesterday. This is the infectious disease specialist for all 14,000-plus prisoners in the state of Oregon with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C. He apparently was at this prison in October 2016 but was unable to see me due to scheduling or something. I have actually been a little concerned about how everything would turn out with my labs because of a cold I had recently. Lots of green tea and cough drops saved me!

I was relieved to learn that my viral load is still undetectable and my CD4 count was 680. Liver function is normal as are my kidneys, blood sugar, etc. Not bad for a man who has had HIV for just about 27 years this March. I am glad that I am still around to share my story with people, and they are open to listening to it.

This past December, I made a New Years' resolution to eat healthier, exercise and lose weight. I started on January 1st with not eating breads, pastries, processed foods, etc. I do have a cheat day, which is Saturday, but I don't go off the rails eating everything bad. I am a 6'3" 285lb man, and I want to get down to 230-240lbs by January 1, 2018. Because of my weight lifting past, I am more muscle than fat, really.

The diet offered in prison is lots of carbs, starch and white flour items that make you fat, lazy and lethargic. I don't want to die before my current parole date of Feb. 12, 2050, when I am 79 years old. Of course, it is my hope to be out sooner. I don't want to be at risk for heart attacks, strokes or diabetes, either.

When I saw the doctor yesterday, he told me that I am doing very well on my once-a-day HIV pill Complera (rilpivirine/TDF/FTC). He also said that this pill can mess with my liver and kidneys and suggested a new and improved version. He changed me over to something called Genvoya (elvitegravir/cobicistat/TAF/FTC), which is also a once-a-day pill to suppress the HIV virus just like the other medication I was taking. I am willing to try it and pray that it works just the same. The way it was explained, there are different molecules in this pill that are better for the body.

Do any of you reading this take the pill? I'd be really interested in hearing how this has affected you with side effects, etc. I don't have any literature on this medication to tell me what to expect or how I could react to it. Would you share your story with me please about this medication?

I want to thank you all for reading my words and telling me when I've written something that has directly impacted your lives in a good way. Your stories give me the strength to keep writing and going on behind these prison walls.

Stay healthy and stay safe.

Related Stories

An Overview of Genvoya (Elvitegravir/Cobicistat/Emtricitabine/Tenofovir Alafenamide Fumarate)
More Personal Accounts and Profiles of Prisoners With HIV/AIDS

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HIV on the Inside

Tim Hinkhouse

Tim Hinkhouse

I have been HIV-positive for over 25 years and have been in prison in Oregon for almost as long because of my health status and non-disclosure. I'll talk to you about the issues faced by a person in my position along with the discrimination and stigmas attached to it behind these prison walls. I'll tell you about the strength and courage I found inside myself to NOT hang up and let this illness or my circumstances finish me off.

Tim Hinkhouse #7632447
Two Rivers Correctional Inst.
82911 Beach Access Rd.
Umatilla, OR 97882

You can also email me at hi.timothy7019

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