Guest Author - Jontay Watson
Little to nothing is known publicly about the lives of HIV/AIDS patients. Television depicts having HIV/AIDS as a death sentence. HIV/AIDS is considered a taboo topic. The stigma attached to having HIV/AIDS is almost as heavy as finding out that you have the virus. For the longest time, HIV/AIDS was and possibly still is considered a "dirty" disease; thought to only strike those engaging in unapproved behaviors. Slowly but surely, those who are informed are coming to the realization that HIV/AIDS is no respecter of person.
The decision to start medication is one that should be thoroughly discussed with your HIV/AIDS specialist. The first step of course, is finding an HIV/AIDS specialist in your area. DO NOT ALLOW A REGULAR PHYSICIAN TO TREAT YOU FOR HIV/AIDS UNLESS THEY ARE A HIV/AIDS SPECIALIST! This is a major mistake that many people make. If you contract HIV/AIDS, you need someone who is aware of the complexities of the disease along with all the available treatment options. They need to have successfully treated MANY patients prior to accepting your case. Do not allow yourself to be any one’s guinea pig!
The decision to begin a medicine regimen is one that should not be entered into lightly. Having to take medication on a daily basis is one that can wear on the emotions without any warning. It can be extremely taxing for those who are not used to taking any type of medication. HIV/AIDS medications must be taken exactly as prescribed to yield the best results. The ability to subscribe to a strict medicine regimen depends on the character of the individual. There are benefits and liabilities to both sides.
Some people make the decision to defer taking medicines until absolutely necessary. This makes the body fight off the virus on its own for as long as it can. This is good because it builds up the body’s tolerance against the virus and allows the immune system to do its job. This can be bad because the HIV/AIDS strand can become extremely dominant in the system that the effects on the body become devastating.
Once HIV/AIDS medications are started, there can be side effects. Some of these include: dry mouth, rash, insomnia and itching. For some, dealing with the side effects is just as bothersome as having the virus in the first place. Most people would be aggravated with not being able to sleep! This is further exasperated by whatever symptoms where felt by having the virus in the beginning.
There are a lot of mental and emotional fatigues associated with taking HIV/AIDS medications. Depression is one of the main side effects that plague those who have HIV/AIDS. Depression ranges from just having the virus to facing the stigma and stereotypes about the disease. Depression can be combated with therapy or medications. Find a therapist or support group to discuss the issues that are plaguing you.
Another big factor in the decision to take medication is cost. There are currently no generic forms available for any HIV/AIDS medication. This means that you must obtain the name brand which is always more expensive. Insurance red tape may hinder whether or not you have to pay out of pocket for your medications. HIV/AIDS medications are expensive. No one should be faced with such a life or death decision. There are many programs available to assist with the costs of HIV/AIDS medications.
If you have gotten to a point where medications are required, making the decision not to take them condemns you to a death sentence. Your immune system is already severely compromised. Without medication, the HIV virus will continue to replicate in your system and bring your CD4 counts down; keeping your body from being able to fight off disease and infection. Whatever the reason behind your decision, understand that nothing you are facing is worse than a life of sickness or illness.