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Self-Advocacy, Part 2

Editor's note: In part 1, Steven had to see a new doctor after finding out that his previous doctor wasn't available. During their first conversation, Steven had a disappointing experience with the new doctor who called him "irresponsible" for his approach to HIV care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I have been taking my medication every single day for over six years now. I have never not taken my medication or have never stopped and started my medication again. I and know how important it is to stick to your regimen.

I then explained to the doctor that I still have a month worth of pills left and that I know I should not start and stop my medication and that that isn’t the case here. At this point, I was already irritated that he would assume after six years of being HIV positive that I did not know the importance of taking my medication daily and that he would use a word like "irresponsible" towards me.

The new doctor didn't listen to me

I then calmed down and asked that instead of picking them up at a pharmacy, if he could refill my prescription through the mail order service they offer. This service would mail my medication directly to my apartment without having to enter a public pharmacy.

He tells me that he is not giving me that option to mail my medication and asks me why I am so hesitant to go into the pharmacy. I explain that I rather have it mailed to me because that is a much easier option as well as less exposure to people during this time. I then follow by saying that I work long hours and days and rather not have to find time to go in.

Very sarcastically he then says, “Well, our pharmacies are open 24 hours a day.”

This conversation was going no where

At that point, I realized that I had not even met this new doctor yet and I was already having issues and feeling uncomfortable talking to them.

I took a deep breath, expressed that I would pick up my medication refill when I had the chance, and finished the call by saying that I hope they have a great day. I knew that he was not going to accept my ask from him and there was no point in wasting any more energy in this engagement.

Requesting a new doctor

The next thing I did was call the nurse back and request a new doctor right away. The nurse asked me why I wanted a new doctor and I expressed that the doctor accused me of being irresponsible which I took offense to because I have always made sure that I stayed healthy.

I expressed that I wanted my medication mailed to me like I have done for every refill that I have done for the past six years and he denied my request. I told the nurse that the relationship with this new doctor is already starting off rocky and would rather start fresh with someone new.

Advocate for your health and wellness

Regardless of how long you have been positive, you should always advocate for your overall health and wellness. I am proud that I spoke my mind about the care that I was receiving and I look forward to meeting my new doctor very soon.

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