Being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS is not easy. Besides the immense medical expenses associated with the disease, there is the stigma associated with having AIDS. There are many who cannot tolerate or accept being around people with AIDS. There is always the fear that “you might get it just by being around them”. This type of situation makes it very difficult to find work to cover every day living expenses.
John is currently 60 years of age. He was diagnosed HIV positive in 1995. He was 34 years old when he contracted HIV. “I have been through numerous medication regimens since first diagnosed. There has been much progress done in the treatment of HIV/ AIDS. Now, patients do not have to take so many pills as before,” said John. The fewer pills’ patients have to take makes it easier to remain compliant. “One to two pills per day is much better than 6-10 pills per day,” said John. But because these new medications are more potent, they also carry more risks such as, becoming a diabetic, developing heart problems and other medical issues that further complicate the overall approach to treatment.
John says, “I am very blessed that my family has been very supportive since I was first diagnosed. My family has always been there for me.” Unfortunately, after living with HIV for 26 years, it has taken a toll on his body and overall health. Some of these medications have given him other medical issues such as diabetes and heart problems. “I have been hospitalized numerous times for the medical conditions that resulted from medications of long term used,” John shared.
“I know that I have to care for myself and do my best to comply with all orders given to me by my physician and other medical professionals to remain stable, as far as the HIV virus. I no longer can work and my income is now very limited. My income is what I received from disability which is not much for my living expenses,” John said. He also shared that his family also helps him at times with financial assistance. “I try my best not to burden any of them with this issue. I have come to rely on the HIV/ AIDS Consortia for assistance with co-pays for my medications and food vouchers. The Consortia sometimes helps me with rent and utility assistance. I am very grateful for the assistance given to me and other clients from the HIV/AIDS consortia.”
John is just one example of the lives you touch when you give to United Way of Laredo. With your support, United Way is able to provide financial resources to agencies like the Laredo HSDA HIV/AIDS Consortia to ensure they are able to provide programs and services to those in need. For more information on how you can support the United Way of Laredo or any of their network of agencies contact the United Way at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.unitedwaylaredo.org If you are in need of community resources and are not sure where to turn dial 2-1-1 for information on programs and services in available in our community.