The history: “I’ve been on every med there is and have resistance to most. When I nearly died from an opportunistic infection in 1994, I realized I had to become educated to fight this virus.”
The combo: “I’ve climbed back from that near-death experience, and now I take three nukes and two boosted protease inhibitors and inject the entry inhibitor Fuzeon (enfuvirtide) twice a day. Nutritional supplements play a big role in my HIV health-care regimen, too.”
The shot: “I’m not afraid of needles, but I ran out of places to inject—I was covered with bumps and bruises. I dubbed myself ‘Lumpy.’”
The gadget: “There’s a needle-free gun, Biojector 2000, for Fuzeon now. It lets you shoot at more sites with fewer reactions. It’s like a bikini wax—not painless, but not bad. Just avoid the inner thigh—very sensitive—and find spots with some fat.”
The result: “With this multidrug combo, my viral load is undetectable and my T cells are 685. I watched an old video of me when I had two T cells and weighed 98 pounds. You would never believe that was me.”
The challenge: “I’ve gone back into the community, educating people. The message I bring is, ‘Don’t wait around for the drug companies to push pills—you have to take control of your own life and health.’”
No More Stickups
Having cheated death, an HIVer finds a way to take Fuzeon without a needle.