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Welcome to the POZ/AIDSmeds Community Forums, a round-the-clock discussion area for people with HIV/AIDS, their friends/family/caregivers, and others concerned about HIV/AIDS.  Click on the links below to browse our various forums; scroll down for a glance at the most recent posts; or join in the conversation yourself by registering on the left side of this page.

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Recent Posts

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Insurance, Benefits Programs & HIV / Re: help with HASA NYC
« Last post by mdm253 on Yesterday at 11:16:40 PM »
We applaud Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio's decision to help New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS. It will save money and will save lives.

I remember a few years back I had a friend that lived in supportive housing where his rent was capped at 30 percent. He wanted to move on and won a lottery for a affordable housing apartment in Manhattan. The building was beautiful, affordable housing was mixed in with the rich apartment renters. The only problem was my friend had limited disability checks coming in every month, his rent went from around two hundred a month to about five hundred a month, leaving him with nothing to buy food with. He lasted only two months and finally he had to decide, pay the rent and don't eat or become homeless and have food. He chose being homeless. And he ended up in the hospital endless times due to being homeless, which in the long run cost the city and state more money than if he had a apartment in the first place.

Lucky after a few months, he was able to get another supportive apartment with low rent, but he did not need supportive housing, and by him taking another apartment meant that someone with HIV/AIDS that did need the services, did not have a place to go. This is the major problem with supportive housing. Even if the person with HIV/AIDS does not need caretakers and supportive housing, they are forced to stay there, because that is all they can afford. So they stay there for years, taking up a apartment that could be used for someone that really needs the services. Supportive housing also is for people with mental Disabilities, War Veterans and other health problems as well as other issues. So this bill will allow people that do not need these services to move on. It will open up housing for people that really need it.

Perhaps one more thing can be accomplished next. Currently the state and city will pay twenty dollars per month towards the electric bills of people with HIV/AIDS. This is just not enough. I can not tell you how many people I know with HIV/AIDS who are always on a final disconnect for their electric bill. Their bills range from a hundred a month in winter to over two hundred in the summer when electricity demand is high and so are the prices. Either the city or state or both should raise the help they can give with these bills. Better yet, Con Edison of New York City should give a deep discount towards people with HIV/AIDS as well as people with other disabilities. Considering how much CON ED makes a month in profit, maybe a bill is needed in Albany, that would require this utility to give people on limited income electricity and gas at cost. It is only right considering how much money Con Ed rakes in every month.

On another note, Dr. Frank R. Lipton from The Human Resources Administration (HRA), who has been called the quintessential unsung hero in media outlets, should be named the new Commissioner of The HRA. Under Dr. Lipton's direction, almost 15,000 supportive housing apartments have been created. Considered widely successful, Dr. Lipton has put New York City on the right track to end homelessness.

But Their Are Problems With HIV/AIDS Programs

There are some problems though. Currently a provider of Scatter Site and Supportive housing can do what they want. If a tenant has a complaint about services received by a provider, there is no outlet for the tenant to complain and take action against the provider. It is the provider that has the power to take the tenant on, but the tenant has no recourse to say to the HRA, "Hey, I am not receiving services". Currently apartment providers for the HRA can call level one, two and three meetings against the tenant and the next step is eviction. But if the provider is not living up to the contract for which they are being paid, no action can be taken against the landlord provider. This has to change, as providers are taking advantage of this loophole and people with disabilities, HIV/AIDS, Mental or other, have no recourse. They can be abused by the provider, which happens more often than anyone can imagine. I have heard more horror stories on this issue and recently I wrote Dr. Lipton asking him to put safeguards in place, so the City's HRA HASA program for people with HIV/AIDS, can take action against a provider who is being paid for services and not rendering them.

Another example of the abuses of providers. People with HIV/AIDS are told they will have Case Management. Yet none of the providers can tell you what that is. They demand that the person living with HIV/AIDS meet with them every week or every other week, yet provide no services. The caseworker will sit there and ask the client, what have you done, yet they never have any answers to what they have done to make the person living with HIV/AIDS live a easier life.

One recent example is St. Nicks Alliance of Brooklyn. I spoke to a caseworker who was recently fired because she wanted to help people with HIV/AIDS. She was told she did not manage her time well. But the reason she was not managing her time well, was she really was trying to help her clients. Helping takes time.

When I put the question to St Nicks Alliance about their Scatter Site program, they denied they had anything to do with their founding fathers, St. Nicks Alliance The Landlord. They said they were a separate entity, and the Landlord had nothing to do with the Scatter Site program. I could have believed this, since I live in one of St. Nicks buildings in Williamsburg. But when this case worker lost her job, she was called down to Frank Lang's office.When doing a search on Frank Lang, this is what several websites say.

Frank Lang is the Director of Housing for the St. Nicks Alliance since 2006 overseeing all of St. Nicks’ housing programs including real estate development, tenant assistance and property management. St. Nicks, founded in 1975, is one of the premiere community development companies in NYC.

St. Nicks Alliance Scatter Site programs separate from  St. Nicks Alliance the landlord? I THINK NOT!

When I e-mailed the fired caseworker on what St. Nicks Alliance Scatter Site Case Management meant, this was her reply.

"Case management is an intangible construct. I don't know how they measure their results of case management. They are unbelievably infatuated with getting program fees. But you are right, they are not exactly managing anything."

Now for anyone who wonders what program fees are, they are the rent paid by the tenant and the monies paid to the program by the City, State and the HRA.
I Just Tested Poz / Re: Diagnosed recently and wondering about insurance
« Last post by pittman on Yesterday at 11:13:01 PM »
That doesn't sound like a deductible, that sounds like your "maximum out of pocket expense", shown on a yearly basis. My employer insurance has the same limits. I could be incredibly wrong though as I don't have an HSA plan, but a regular PPO.

High Deductable Plans, which are the types of plans that use HSAs will have "high deductibles." They charge much less for the premium. That being said, checking to make sure as you suggest is a good idea. For comparison, my employer based plan has a $1,200 deductible, after which I must pay 20% for everything until I hit about $3000. with treatment costs and drug costs, that means I must plan to spend that maximum amount every year.   The familly plan has a $3,000 deductible and $6,000 annual out of pocket. If I were to be on the family plan, even if no one else I used it, I would have to plan to spend $6,000 every year. 

However, when I compare the plan to the PPO and include the premiums  in both cases, then they are pretty much the same in what I end up paying each year.

The HSA however can help as it is pretax. While unlike a healthcare reimbursement account, you must have the money in the HSA before you can spend it. However, it has two advantages in that you can add money to the account after and then pay yourself back out of it immediately for bills earlier in the year. That means you can change how much you contribute to it at any time. Also, you never lose the money, as it continues to roll over each year.

Waste of time.. I've tried and tried with a hundred companies, ALL of them I've been to ask 'Do you have HIV', yes.. stop, we're done we don't want you. 

There are several no health question life insurance programs, so called "guaranteed issue", most allow for up to 25,000 in coverage, but the monthly cost is near a hundred a month.  My employer gives us $20,000 in life insurance benefits, and has an optional "buy up" plan that's guaranteed issue up to 100,000.. I purchased the additional up to the maximum that's guaranteed issue.

Best bet is group life insurance, through work or other group.  Make sure that you never opt for the amount that requires a medical check up.  They will publish that level. If you do, then they can deny you.
Vivir con el VIH / Re: zidovuine AZT
« Last post by Raf on Yesterday at 11:01:51 PM »
Bueno, supongo que puedo contestar. Mi combo es: kaletra + Combivir, y el combivir esta compuesto por Lamivudine y Zidovuine , que es por el que preguntan.

Como pueden ver en mi firma, llevo ya 6 años con este combo. He leido por aqui que es un combo muy viejo (y tienen razon. Una persona cercana a mi fue diagnosticada hace dos años y lo pusieron en Viraday -atripla- ) y con algunos efectos secundarios que dicen no tolerar. En mi caso en particular, el unico efecto secundario ha sido algun episodio de diarrea esporadico, pero tengo que admitir que quizas resulté afortunado en ese aspecto. Lo que me gusta del combo, es que no es tan estricto como otros en cuanto a horario en el que lo tomas, pero a costa de tener que tomar 6 pastillas diarias (2 de combivir + 4 kaletra).

Igual capaz me cambien de combo en algunos años, pero los doctores estan un poco reacios a ello, dicen que todavía me va bien con él.
Well those are good numbers. I think many here wish they had been able to get a diagnoses and treatment so early.

Hopefully you will also find a good outlet in someone for the emotional side of dealing with it.  Despite getting treatment and *knowing* how effectively it can be managed, it's still very hard to deal with.

I can say though that for myself, it has increasingly become a much smaller part of my life and that the preoccupation experienced in the beginning really does get better with time.

My insurance will only allow refills after 3 weeks on my monthly refills. So  around every three weeks plus a couple day I order a refill. Gaining a couple or three doses each month. Have managed to build a good reserve doing this. 
Living With HIV / Re: Terrible test results.
« Last post by phoenix on Yesterday at 10:02:24 PM »
Roy    Found myself in a situation similar to yours.  January this year  was ud for the first time. Then in may my vl jumped to 97. No surgery or illness. Got freaked out about resistance and maybe having to change meds. The good people on this forum told me it was just a blip and it happens  and it doesn't mean too much. That its the vl level over time that matters. And not to worry to much. Well I wasted all the worry for nothing, I got results from test taken early this month and my vl is once again ud. I would listen to your doc, stay on your meds and the wait for next set of test. And try to relax .   
Am I Infected? / Re: hiv in an apple
« Last post by Jeff G on Yesterday at 10:01:26 PM »
Its not possible HIV could be transmitted in that manner and you need not worry about it .

HIV is instantly damaged and rendered unable to infect the instant its exposed to conditions outside the human body ... small changes in temperature and PH levels destroy the virus .

HIV is so fragile scientist have a hard time keeping viable samples alive long enough to do research so you can rest assured it can't survive on or in an apple .
Living With HIV / Re: Stigmatism
« Last post by zach on Yesterday at 10:00:42 PM »
the poz box should be illegal?!? derfuq? i serosort, are you advocating that become illegal?
Nutrition & HIV / Re: Prezista, Truvada, Norvir- Weight gain?
« Last post by zach on Yesterday at 09:57:56 PM »
i am on the OP combo, i have been for about four months now. my starting weight was 135lb my normal weight is 160, but haven't seen that in a couple years. since starting meds my weight has not moved up or down
Am I Infected? / Re: frottage penis rub with vaginal
« Last post by Jeff G on Yesterday at 09:55:33 PM »
Its only a risk if its penetrative sex so you have not had a risk for HIV . HIV is far to fragile to transmitted that way and then there is the fact that vaginal fluids are not infectious for HIV .

Here's what you need to know in order to avoid hiv infection:

You need to be using condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, every time, no exceptions until such time as you are in a securely monogamous relationship where you have both tested for ALL sexually transmitted infections together.

To agree to have unprotected intercourse is to consent to the possibility of being infected with an STI.Sex without a condom lasts only a matter of minutes, but hiv is forever.

Have a look through the condom and lube links in my signature line so you can use condoms with confidence.

Although you did not have a risk and do not need to test for this specific incident , anyone who is sexually active should be having a full sexual health care check-up, including but not limited to hiv testing, at least once a year and more often if unprotected intercourse occurs.

If you aren't already having regular, routine check-ups, now is the time to start. As long as you make sure condoms are being used for intercourse, you can fully expect your routine hiv tests to return with negative results.

Don't forget to always get checked for all the other sexually transmitted infections as well, because they are MUCH easier to transmit than hiv. Some of the other STIs can be present with no obvious symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to test.

Use condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, correctly and consistently, and you will avoid hiv infection. It really is that simple!
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