California: Support Program Helps Fuzeon Patients
October 31, 2007
More than 35 people met at an Oakland restaurant last month to learn about Nurse Connections, a free nationwide home-based education and support program for HIV patients taking Fuzeon.
Nurse Connections, sponsored by Roche Pharmaceuticals, aims to help patients learn how to administer the twice-daily injectable drug, which must be reconstituted in water. Injection-site reactions are common among Fuzeon users, said Stefan Christenberry, a registered nurse contracted through Maxim Healthcare to assist Nurse Connections patients. Christenberry said he works with clients to reduce these reactions and to "teach clients and caregivers to be comfortable with the injections."
"It's a great program," said Bob Pittman, a Nurse Connections participant who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1985. "I feel like a kid of 17. My partner told me, "You're the man I married again.'"
"At first, I was having some reactions, but [Christenberry] came over and showed me the areas I should focus on, and how to do the injections properly," said Ray Perez, who has been with the program since April. "It's been working amazingly well, just incredible."
"It's all based on the patient's needs," Christenberry said, "how they learn, what their living situation is." The home-based program is also accessible to partners, family members, and other caregivers who administer the drug. Nationally, there are 5,000 Nurse Connections clients, who can be referred through a primary physician. A Nurse Connections informational event will be held in San Francisco in November.
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
10.25.2007; Raymond J. Aguilera
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.