New Regimen of Meds, and My Comments on My Speech on the Doctor/Patient Relationship
My Speech Took Place at the 6th Int'l Conference of Adherence and Prevention of HIV/AIDS
May 27, 2011
The big part your doctor plays in your life! It's like a marriage ... if there is no communication or respect, there will be a divorce! Or a person being less adherent to their HIV medications. I tried to tell them how we feel as patients! We have to be proactive with our illness. Ask for tests, even if your doc does not ask for it! Like vitamin D! I was vitamin D deficient and I didn't know ... and if I would have never asked, I would not have known! We have to respect our doctors and they should encourage their patients to research and investigate.
I am the one who decided to stop taking Trizivir, which has AZT in it, and switch to Atripla! I have two HIV doctors; one told me, "This will be the worst mistake in your life, Maria, you are undetectable!" But I know after so much AZT, it was going to enlarge my red blood cells. So, I made the choice to change and I hope everything goes well! On the other hand, when I went to my primary physician, who is also a wonderful HIV specialist, he told me, before I even asked him, "Maria, here is the result of your blood work. You are undetectable (as I already knew), but the little problems I see here like the enlarged red blood cells etc., etc., are because of the AZT." Of course, I already knew this and actually was informed of this situation by two dear friends of mine on Facebook who have so much experience, Jim and Colin!!! TY both! So, he put me on Atripla right away!
I was so excited to go and speak in this panel and talk to people in the medical field from all over the world! And I found it right on time! Because I had one doctor that didn't want to listen to me ... maybe because he is scared for me? I don't know ... it's not just about being undetectable and my T-cell count! I want to live a long life!! And be on medication that is less toxic! It's my right! He couldn't understand! He talked about if it isn't broken, don't fix it!!!! Well NO!!! I am not going to wait to be broken to fix! Even a car needs a tune up! They have studied and I admire them for that. But we are the people who are living this illness! It's our bodies.
So please everyone, Don't be scared to ask questions, and if you feel your doctor, case manager etc., etc., is not the right partner for you, because it is a marriage (as I say on my video), divorce him/her!
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Time to Show My Face and Take the Stigma Away
Maria T. Mejia
I am a Colombian female who lives in Miami, Florida. I've been positive for 20 years. Although almost all my life I've been in long-term relationships with HIV-negative men, I am happily married to a woman who is wonderful and caring. We have been together almost three years and she is HIV negative. I have no children but we will look into having! I am an activist, a peer educator, a caregiver. I volunteered for the Red Cross in education for the Hispanic HIV community and also the American community. I was a pre- and post-test counselor. I have spoken in many conferences and done a lot of outreach in the community, especially in the schools for prevention and education. It is part of my everyday life to educate everyone I can on this subject. Being HIV positive is nothing to be ashamed about! We are strong women, and we will take away all the stigmas slowly but we have to open up.
Read more blogs by women living with HIV/AIDS at "A Girl Like Me"
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