Friday, January 20, 2006

Being HIV+ Has it's Advantages........

...bitterly ironic as that must sound.
Take last year's flu-shot shortage as an example. Last thing any of us want is a nasty influenza, right? While everyone was wondering how they were gonna get theirs, I got my flu-vac a week before flu-season began. I guess in retrospect the shortage wasn't all that bad, but there was a lot of anxiety swirling abound leading into flu season. I had no such worries, although i do recall a twinge of guilt. (Who's giving up theirs so i can get mine?)
Anyway, today was the first time I refilled my meds in the new year. Needless to say the pharmacy was a madhouse, thanks in large part to the implimentation of Bush's new goofy prescription drug plan. So now I'll get back to my original point of HIV having some bizarre advantages. I've been on meds for like 10 years and during that period my health insurance situation changes several times. At times I 've been totally covered, other times (like now) woefully underinsured and even a year with no coverage at all. At no point in the past 10 years have I ever had a problem getting my meds. Even during the lean times when I leaned on public assistance assistance ("welfare"), getting meds was never the challenging part. Would you believe it is because of (rather than in spite of) my HIV status that I am ensured continuity each and every time I go to the pharmacy??
I am not sorry that my trip get refills was quick-n-easy. But there were at least a dozen others milling about the pharmacy who were in various stages of the prescription- approval process. Most looked completely impatient and defeated. There were a few old folks there too, who probably were in the worst shape. I was too ashamed to even make eye contact with them.
But it was my pharamcist who really seemed bent over a barrel since Jan 1st. She sure seemed happy to see me.
"You're an easy one, Jay. " refering, of course to my 'script plan that come-what-may has been water-tight for the past decade. It's old-school style. Give her the script, walk away with the pills. No muss no fuss.
When I asked my phamacist how it's been since the curious Bush plan kicked in, she told me in no uncertain terms just how bad it was. She looked like hell, totally beat up. I felt awful for her. My business took about 5 minutes and as i was leaving i got some frustrated snears from the others whose prospects seem a lot more complicated than mine. "Yo! why didn't his require a phone call??!!" Little did they know, I'm an HIV-VIP.
Let's face it, HIV meds are BIG BUCKS!! I may be covered, but somewhere a drug company big-wig is smiling.


Anonymous said...

Rebecca says:
my brother fears to change jobs because of the insurance conundrum he'd face. He has AIDS, is in good health now, but we always worry about the next cold, flu, etc. (We lost another brother to HIV, an allergic reaction to the egg base so many of the meds are carried in.) So each day, sucky job or not, is a gift.

I know good attitude and humor are also crucial, and you have both. Along with a heaping helping of compassion.

May you live long and prosper, Jay.

Anonymous said...

Dallas Doc says
HIV programs were put in place in most states in the teeth of Reaganite disapproval, because of overwhelming public sympathy for the dying hordes in the 1980's. Those programs survive to this day, thank God.

But with the deliberate budget deficits, the savage social spending cuts, and the continual health-care crisis caused by greed and lack of imagination, this situation may not last forever. People with HIV are no longer dying in conspicuous numbers; populations most affected are, shall we say, unfashionable in certain circles; selfishness is on the rise in general in our society.

The time may come when HIV patients become the scapegoat du jour for the Rovian reptiles. It's not hard to imagine how this could happen: some bigotry and homophobia mixed with a stoking of that ever-ready sense of victimhood on the Right, and presto! A war on those with HIV.

It's horrifying to contemplate, not least because it sounds so plausible. Ask women how easily control over one's body and health can be lost.

Anonymous said...

I still burn with rage every time I remember how Reagan muzzled Koop. That's the period when both my brothers became infected. Not counting dozens of friends who are gone now. It's a body count as appalling as Bush's.

Anonymous said...

One doesn't have to support Bush or the Republicans to be in favor of sensible health care reform. People who carelessly engage in unprotected sex and then wask the government (i.e. taxpayers) or insurance companies (i.e. employers & employees) to pay for their treatment for years without incvreased premiums because of "we can't test for HIV status" legislation" is, I think a ridiculous law. The law is a ridiculous. That is what I think.

jay lassiter said...

your mean-spirited point has nothing to do with what i'm describing. you sound a lot like a sensible person who doesn't know what they're talking about.
with regards to the testing issue you raise, you might have found a philosophical ally in me if you hadnt been so gosh darned judgemental and presumptious.

Sharon GR said...

I've read this over two or three times, and tried to think of what to say in the comments.

And I can't.

But I guess the very fact that I came back again and re-read it says something.

Anonymous said...


good topic to broach.

in los angeles, i find the most amount of envy of my hiv-status (?) comes from having a handicapped parking pass for a car (and i don't have a car anymore). even hivers, who have parking passes but are afraid to use them, 1) 'cause they think they're depriving others and 2) it outs them.

would trade you the parking pass for the disease any time, you fools.