This is a serious post, in honor of World AIDS Day. People still die from HIV/AIDS. My patients still die from HIV/AIDS. This year, 2 of our clinic patients have died from AIDS-related illnesses and a few more are going downhill quickly. Yes, the drugs are amazing and life-saving. But they’re only life-saving when you can get them…and take them. Regularly. The problem my patients faced wasn’t access–they were able to make appointments with infectious disease specialists and case managers right in our clinic, and HIV meds are free for those who meet income criteria in our state. The problem was in the other parts of their lives. The mental illness. The substance abuse. The poor coping skills. Many people lead long, relatively healthy lives after becoming infected with HIV–but not everyone does. HIV can still kill you. Sometimes we forget.
Still a problem December 2, 2009