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Author Topic: Need advice on doctors and Altripla medicine....  (Read 2949 times)

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Offline bambot1209

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  • Posts: 1
Need advice on doctors and Altripla medicine....
« on: July 16, 2010, 03:02:10 AM »
I tested positive last november...
I was very depressed and was scared to start medicine but I finally did.  I went to my doctor and she prescribed the medicine, but it took me like 2 more months to finally take the first pill, I was so afraid of the side effects.  Fortunately it went very smooth for me, I was able to go on with my life just as normal as I remembered before going into the hospital on november. 
Anyways, long story short, I did take two 30 pill containers (60 pills ~ about 60 days), I missed my pill at the beginning while I was getting used to it like a couple of times, but after the first couple of weeks it didn't matter if I had gonne out or drank, I still took it, and didn't miss one more...
The problem came that when I tried to refill my prescription for the third time, the pharmacy told me that it was going to cost me like 1,300 dollars to do it, when I have only been paying like 40dlls for the first two containers! I was outraged! I didn't understand why! so, my medicine was over and I'm not taking it anymore... I'm just on daiily bactrim and that's it, since like 3 weeks ago... In those three weeks I haven't taken any HIV medicine (Altripla). I have been trying to contact my doctor and have left several messages with my phone number and they never returned my call. 
I don't know who to ask why I can't get my medication for the low price I used to, and I don't have access to my doctor to ask what can I do next!
My questions are the following:
What will happen if haven't been on my medicine for the last three weeks after being on it for the last two months?...
AND.... Does anyone know a good GAY/GAYFRIENDLY DOCTOR in the Houston Area that I can go to?? I am ready to dump my current doctor because I have received such a poor service from them and still got a bill I'm supposed to pay of over 30K dlls!
I don't know if my insurance is to bad that it won't cover anything or if this is the real crude reality and this disease will kill me from being poor first.
Anyways, I really need some advice! I have been so depressed because I haven't taken my medicine and that was actually starting to help me feel good :(
Hope somebody understands my situation and has some advice! I will truly appreciate it!

Offline bryan21

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  • Posts: 120
Re: Need advice on doctors and Altripla medicine....
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2010, 05:07:40 AM »
wow!!!
i am soo sorry
thats what im afraid of to i have no money and im basically poor and i think about the cost of meds and docs. all the time and the fact you have to leave a message when you call a place and you cant just speak with someone the first time you call drives me up the wall!! but most states have a program that helps pay for the costs of meds..and yea it sounds like u need a new doc.

http://www.atdn.org/access/states/tx/tx.html

http://www.thecentersd.org/healthservices.php

idk if this will help?
its drug program and a list of gay friendly docs.
i may be wrong idk??

Offline ruralguy

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  • Posts: 141
Re: Need advice on doctors and Altripla medicine....
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2010, 09:56:41 AM »
It is bad to stop your meds.  I ran into the same situation and it turned out my insurance simply ran out.  It took some time to fix but I did get it fixed.  However, I am in New York and I don't have any idea how things work in Texas.  You should

- try calling your insurance company. 
- call the company that makes atripla and explain your problem
- get another doctor or clinic to help you

Don't delay doing these things.  You need to activity work on this. 
tested positive June 19, 2009
7/3/09 vrl 9000 cd4 - 300
8/14/09 cd4 - 350, 20%
started Atripla 9/14/09
10/5/09 vrl undetectable, WOW so fast!
12/28/09 vrl undetectable, CD4 - 615  27% cholesterol down, kidney function normal
4/26/10 vrl undetectable, CD4-600, kidney and liver numbers normal
9/9/10 vrl undetectable, CD4-685
1/3/11 vrl undetectable, CD4-700
all 2011 and Jan 2012 visits vrl undetectable CD4 ranged from 715-645
5/7/2012  vrl undetectable, CD4-615, all liver, kidney, lipids, heart functions, etc normal


On Atripla:  "Your mileage may vary"

Offline Miss Philicia

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  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: Need advice on doctors and Altripla medicine....
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2010, 10:11:24 AM »
I always recommend that a newly diagnosed person, regardless of their insurance situation, sit down with someone at their local AIDS service organization (ASO) and have their insurance policy analyzed.  That way you'll know of any surprises on the horizon in terms of coverage, and can also see if you qualify for any other assistance and have it in place before the unexpected happens.  If Houston is like where I live there should also be HIV clinics that integrate the ASO component so you have more of a one-stop-shopping element.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Need advice on doctors and Altripla medicine....
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2010, 10:37:50 AM »
Hi Bambot, welcome to the forums.

We have a member here who goes by the name of Hotpuppy who lives in Houston. He's a friendly, helpful guy who knows the Houston hiv scene (ie doctors, ASOs etc) pretty well. Once you've posted three times, you can send him a PM. I'm sure he'd be able and happy to help. He hasn't been online since Wednesday though, so he won't have seen your thread, but he'll get an email notification of your PM.

Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Inchlingblue

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Re: Need advice on doctors and Altripla medicine....
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2010, 02:36:47 AM »
As Ann advises, Hotpuppy is likely to have some good information for you.

I sent an email to someone I know in Houston who is very plugged in, he might also have specific advice/information and I'll post it here or PM you as soon as I hear back.

The most likely source for HIV meds and lab work for those who are not insured or underinsured is a state/federal program called ADAP (part of the Ryan White Care Act). Most states' ADAPs are undergoing funding problems right now but it's possible you might qualify depending on your income.

As someone else mentioned, the pharmaceutical companies many times are willing to supply the meds free for a limited time until things get sorted out.

All these things can be sorted out with the help of a counselor at a local ASO, as Miss P advises. You can try calling AIDS Foundation Houston directly:

http://www.aidshelp.org/site/PageServer?pagename=AFH_homepage&cvridirect=true

My questions are the following:
What will happen if haven't been on my medicine for the last three weeks after being on it for the last two months?...
AND.... Does anyone know a good GAY/GAYFRIENDLY DOCTOR in the Houston Area that I can go to??

It's hard to answer your first question definitively because there can be lots of variations on what could happen depending on many factors.

The best case scenario is that you were already undetectable when you stopped the meds and did not acquire any resistance so even though the virus will start replicating again, depending on the strength of your immune system and how long you've had HIV and other factors (such as genetics), it could take a while before it gets to dangerous levels.

Do you know what your numbers were when you started Atripla?

It's probably better not to get too caught up in what can or can't happen and just concentrate your energies on finding a good ASO that can help you get uninterrupted coverage for meds and labs.

Your second question about a good gay-friendly doctor will likely be answered by Hotpuppy or the friend I emailed or someone else on here who has info. about Houston.

There is a website you can search for HIV doctors by area using zip codes or city names but if you can get a direct recommendation from someone that's probably better. This is the site just in case you need it:

http://www.aahivm.org/


« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 02:54:27 AM by Inchlingblue »

Offline wtfimpoz

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  • Let's make biscuits!
Re: Need advice on doctors and Altripla medicine....
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2010, 03:16:23 AM »
I always recommend that a newly diagnosed person, regardless of their insurance situation, sit down with someone at their local AIDS service organization (ASO) and have their insurance policy analyzed.  That way you'll know of any surprises on the horizon in terms of coverage, and can also see if you qualify for any other assistance and have it in place before the unexpected happens.  If Houston is like where I live there should also be HIV clinics that integrate the ASO component so you have more of a one-stop-shopping element.

I asked for this service at my ASO and was looked at like I'd sprouted a second head.  Where else can one go for assistance with this?  I called my insurance co. directly and the service rep on the phone acted like she'd never heard of such a thing..."what, limits on coverage, why NO, you just pay your copay and thats all.  No, of course we don't cut off coverage for meds at a certain point".  Somehow, I think that just taking her at her word isn't gonna be sufficient here.   
09/01/2009-neg
mid april, 2010, "flu like illness".
06/01/2010-weakly reactive ELISA, indeterminant WB
06/06/2010-reactive ELISA, confirmed positive.

DATE       CD4     %     VL
07/15/10  423     33    88k
08/28/10  489     19    189k
09/06/10-Started ATRIPLA
09/15/10  420     38    1400
11/21/10  517     25    51

Offline Ann

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  • Posts: 28,140
  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Need advice on doctors and Altripla medicine....
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2010, 11:36:25 AM »

What will happen if haven't been on my medicine for the last three weeks after being on it for the last two months?...

When you find yourself a decent doctor, make sure you explain about your treatment interruption. It is possible that you may have become resistant to the Sustiva component of Atripla and they'll probably want to do a resistance test before re-starting you on it. Hopefully you haven't acquired this resistance, but it is a possibility.

I've got my fingers crossed for you that you get this mess sorted out quickly and that you have not acquired resistance. Good luck!
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Miss Philicia

  • Member
  • Posts: 24,019
  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: Need advice on doctors and Altripla medicine....
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2010, 02:46:24 PM »
I asked for this service at my ASO and was looked at like I'd sprouted a second head.  Where else can one go for assistance with this?  I called my insurance co. directly and the service rep on the phone acted like she'd never heard of such a thing..."what, limits on coverage, why NO, you just pay your copay and thats all.  No, of course we don't cut off coverage for meds at a certain point".  Somehow, I think that just taking her at her word isn't gonna be sufficient here.   

Hard to help without knowing where you live.  Did you actually take a copy of your policy to the ASO and attempt to have them look at it?

We have insurance advisors at the ASO's where I live (Philadelphia) and this was also done in NYC where I lived for 15 years.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline Inchlingblue

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Re: Need advice on doctors and Altripla medicine....
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2010, 04:15:39 PM »
I heard back from my friend and he suggested you email him.

His name is Nelson Vergel and he is a nationally known HIV advocate with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of all things HIV and he happens to live in Houston. My point is, you are in very good hands! He should be able to steer you in the right direction.

This is his webpage:

www.nelsonvergel.com

His email is powertx@aol.com

Please keep us posted on your progress.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 04:28:11 PM by Inchlingblue »

Offline wtfimpoz

  • Member
  • Posts: 418
  • Let's make biscuits!
Re: Need advice on doctors and Altripla medicine....
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2010, 04:47:22 PM »
Hard to help without knowing where you live.  Did you actually take a copy of your policy to the ASO and attempt to have them look at it?

We have insurance advisors at the ASO's where I live (Philadelphia) and this was also done in NYC where I lived for 15 years.

No, that'd be a good start.  Who do I ask to speak with about it?
09/01/2009-neg
mid april, 2010, "flu like illness".
06/01/2010-weakly reactive ELISA, indeterminant WB
06/06/2010-reactive ELISA, confirmed positive.

DATE       CD4     %     VL
07/15/10  423     33    88k
08/28/10  489     19    189k
09/06/10-Started ATRIPLA
09/15/10  420     38    1400
11/21/10  517     25    51

Offline Miss Philicia

  • Member
  • Posts: 24,019
  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: Need advice on doctors and Altripla medicine....
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2010, 05:53:26 PM »
No, that'd be a good start.  Who do I ask to speak with about it?

If you stated where you lived maybe someone could point out the best thing, I can't do more than say where I lived and what I did.  You just take your policy's written material stating your benefits and all of the details about co-payments, what's covered, blah blah blah and ask to speak to someone at your ASO who can look it over and answer any questions you have.  It's not an unusual request in the least.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

 


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