Staying in care while living with HIV is most important. That means never missing a doctor’s appointment, getting labs done as requested from your provider, and never missing a dose of your HIV medications. Staying in care is number one, always, no matter what. This is because our health comes first! It’s your responsibility to take care of you and no one else’s.
HIV treatment and care is important
Make sure to use a calendar to remind yourself of all your appointments. You can even use your calendar on your phone to alert you about upcoming appointments, whether it’s with your physician, counselor, or any appointment that is going to help you take better care of yourself. Needless to say, there can be different reasons why some people who are living with HIV may miss appointments with no fault of their own.
Other necessities may impact HIV care
Life can not be easy, at times, with finding the right job with good pay to afford rent and food. People living with HIV may have issues with not finding work or a decent place to live just like anyone else. But this can create a problem with keeping your regularly scheduled appointments. Look at it like this: if you don’t have a steady place to live or food to eat daily, what will be most important?
Sometimes we may have to make tough decisions
Of course, it's going to be shelter and food! So, therefore, your care may come last or put on the back burner if you are struggling with life issues. In our society, this is what will come first. Selfcare is hard to accomplish when you don’t know where you're going to sleep or when you're going to eat. Our AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) should be a place we can depend on when we have these needs.
Help with focusing on continuing our HIV care
There are plenty of organizations with funding to help people living with HIV, from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program), and HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS). It has been stated that the first step to better health for a person living with HIV is a roof over their head. All of these programs, along with the larger companies that help fund these things.
Assistance programs may be hard to access at times
One would think that there should be no way for anyone to not have the help they need, but think again. There are people who can’t find resources in their state to help them. This could be due to a lack of ASOs that really care or lack of funds available to help.
Don't give up
So I say speak up when it comes to your health and never give up because it can be hard to stay in care and stay adherent to your meds. If one organization won’t help, please keep looking for one that will. There are people that are here for you so find someone that can help you, no matter what.
At what age were you diagnosed with HIV?