January #120 : Meds: The Sequel - by Laura Whitehorn

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Table of Contents

Out in Africa

2006: Making Resolutions That Stick

Doctor's Diary - January 2006

Boiling Pointers

Juiced for Health

A Smarter Smear

Kinks in the Pipeline

Meds: The Sequel

Ask the Sexpert - January 2006

Breaking Out

Chicken Little

Catch of the Month - January 2006

Employee of the Month - January 2006

A Higher Education

What C2EA meant to me

Sex and Sickness in the City

So Many Men, So Little Time

Exhibit AIDS

Alternative Scene

Buzz - January 2005

High-definition HIV

A Perfect Threesome

Mentors - January 2006

Relaxed Security

Mailbox - January 2006

Editor's Letter - January 2006

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

email print

January 2006

Meds: The Sequel

by Laura Whitehorn

A filmmaker tames a tough costar

Michael Smith, 40, Brooklyn
Documentary Filmmaker, Diagnosed 2001

The Script: You’ve heard people say, “I was fine until I took the meds.” That’s me. I felt OK when I tested positive, despite having 50 T cells and a 600,000 viral load—like someone who’d had HIV for ten years, my doctor said. As soon as I started the meds, I had vomiting and diarrhea. My doctor said, “Try again.”
The Motivation: I told myself, “Yes, the meds are chemicals your body isn’t used to. But what’s your choice if you want to live?”

The Action: I controlled diarrhea with more fiber and less fat and timed my doses so nausea didn’t disrupt my entire day. I sniffed lemons and did a lot of lying around.
The Crew: My doctor said the side effects would pass. You need someone to talk you through it, not just tell you to appreciate that you have meds. Family support is key to my adherence. When I travel, there’s a designated “take your meds” reminder.

The Climax: I started getting better, and improved lab numbers encouraged me to adhere. A once-a-day combo makes it easier—I take it at night when I brush my teeth.

The End: Yes, the pharmaceutical industry needs to change. But that doesn’t change the fact that my meds are helping me—and that I should take them.      

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