For the next two quarters in clinic, I have the honor of working solely with HIV patients. It already has been empowering, exhausting, emotional and challenging.
Before working with the HIV population, I only heard about HIV in the textbooks, news and from stories. Now I see it every week hurting many lives.
I urge you to be careful sexually and with drug use. A fantastic fifteen minutes sexually or shooting up with a dirty needle can kill you slowly for fifteen years and much longer.
I am not saying that HIV patients are not doing well, many are. I am simply saying that I wish HIV was prevented more.
Yes the medications for HIV are excellent but there are horrific side effects which are painful, annoying and life-changing. The sheer volume of medications HIV patients consume is insane - one patient today was on 13 medications and about the same number of supplements. This patient is so drugged up that he collapsed on me in the treatment room having a mild seizure. Another was rubbing his leg continuously for 1 hour due to intense pain from AZT while his partner was in tears. Another wakes up numerous times a night from burning pain in his feet due to the antivirals. Another is recently diagnosed and really wants to toss the drugs in the garbage due to being already tired of the side effects.
So next time you prepare to have unprotected sex, remember this post.
Know your partner. Know the risks.
It is NOT worth the risk. Believe me.
Thank you patients for trusting me to work with you. Not only do I learn about HIV treatments but the most important aspect - I learn about you and how amazing you are in strength of mind and body. Your body may be ill but your spirit is vibrant.
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