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Author Topic: I cant get my roommate to get and stay on meds  (Read 1310 times)

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Offline gwmpoz23

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I cant get my roommate to get and stay on meds
« on: September 07, 2012, 10:24:17 PM »
I have a roommate who has been HIV Poz for about 7 years.  He has been on and off meds for sometime because he doesnt stay focused.  I have insurance so my care is much easier but he doesnt so he has to go to Chicagos Core Center for the services.  He claims its too difficult and too far for him to go.  I have offered to drive him there and just told him to schedule a couple weeks in advance so I can make sure I have the day off.  I got him to go once but he took the pills for about a week and a half and hasnt touched them again.   I worry that he is going to become resistant.  In addition, he has been sick often and has had a horrible cough now for going on a couple months.   I cant figure out what to do.  He get the care free,  I have offered to take him.  Also he doesnt even know his numbers.   Any thoughts? 

Offline Ann

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Re: I cant get my roommate to get and stay on meds
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2012, 04:15:35 AM »
My first thought is.... you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

It is very possible that your roommate has some depression issues where he isn't caring about what happens to him. Is this reflected in other areas of his life, such as not paying much attention to personal hygiene and/or lying around the house not wanting to do anything other than sleep or watch TV?

Does he have substance misuse issues with drugs or alcohol? Does he do nothing but play video games non-stop? Has he lost interest in the fun things in life?

Aside from offering to help him with the practical issue of getting to appointments (good of you, btw), have you sat down with him to have a discussion about why he's not looking after his hiv? I mean other than the travel issue.

Maybe he's irrationally terrified of possible side-effects. Does he realise that the majority of people can find a virtually side-effect-free combo?

Has he been listening to hiv denialists? They can be very persuasive. And dangerous.

Maybe the stigma is forcing his head into the sand. He might hate being seen at the clinic he has to attend. 

Maybe he has it in his head that he just wants to die, but does he really know what he's letting himself in for? What are his feelings about dying a protracted, nasty death from OIs as opposed to making the simple effort to take a few pills each day to stay healthy?

If any or all of these issues are at the root of why he's not looking after himself, maybe a frank talk with you about it might help him. I'd suggest he starts seeing a therapist, but I rather doubt he'd agree to go to one if he won't even go to his hiv clinic.

Ultimately, he has to make the decision to look after his own health. He has your support, so that's one excuse why he can't out the window.

One thing I can think of that may wake him up is if you can stage an intervention, similar to what some friends/families do for loved ones with addiction problems. If you can gather together a handful of friends/family (obviously people who already know about his hiv), maybe together you can impress on him how much he's loved and how much people don't want to see him die an unnecessary, painful death.

Because yes, it's as stark and as simple as that. Untreated hiv will end in a protracted, painful death.

With that cough he has, it's a very real possibility that he's already dealing with PCP. At the very least, get him to a doctor for that - even if you have to trick him by saying you're afraid you're going to come down with whatever it is that he has which is affecting his lungs.

Good luck. It's difficult to watch someone not take care of themselves. Make sure you take care of yourself too - and by that I mean emotionally. At the end of the day, this is his mess and there's only so much you can do for him if he's made up his mind to ignore his hiv and die.
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Offline gwmpoz23

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Re: I cant get my roommate to get and stay on meds
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2012, 08:58:15 PM »
Thanks Ann for your response.   I was gonna put the cliche of leading a horse to water, LOL!!

I am sure it has alot to do with depression.   He is a former user and has been clean for quite some time and before you naysayers jump in,  he is regularly drug tested by the court.   He does love alcohol but most of it is depression as he dont like anything that is a struggle.  Whether it be work, money, or boyfriends he can go from fun to a bum in no time.   Sleeping hours and hours on end.   I actually have to admit that I am happy that he caught an STD and now he has to go :-)  LOL!!  He knows what they are going to say to him and he knows whats gonna happen but at least that way we can get some numbers out of it.  Maybe some out of control numbers will wake him up. 

Offline Ann

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Re: I cant get my roommate to get and stay on meds
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2012, 03:57:53 AM »

 I actually have to admit that I am happy that he caught an STD and now he has to go :-)  LOL!!  He knows what they are going to say to him and he knows whats gonna happen but at least that way we can get some numbers out of it.  Maybe some out of control numbers will wake him up. 


When you say STD (sexually transmitted disease aka STI, sexually transmitted infection) what do you mean? You never mentioned anything physical other than a cough.

The cough you describe could be PCP, a type of pneumonia we are prone to and is classified as an Opportunistic Infection, aka OI. It could point to other serious problems as well, but PCP is the obvious assumption.

But yeah, if you meant the possible PCP/OI, it may just be his wake-up call - if you can get him to seek medical attention for it before he collapses, possibly at the point of no return. While many people can be hospitalised when very ill with PCP and/or other OIs and return to health, many others are not so lucky.

It's not a fast way to go either, nor is it pain-free by any means. If he thinks he's going to just go to sleep one night and wake up dead, he's either deluding himself or doesn't know anything about late stage aids and the horrible, painful OIs that accompany late stage aids. It's the OIs that actually cause death.

If he thinks attending a clinic a few times a year and popping a few pills once or twice a day is too much like hard work, wait until he finds out how much hard work dying of aids turns out to be. He's not going to like it. Have you discussed this with him?

Please remember that there is only so much you can do for your friend. Ultimately it has to be his decision to start taking care of himself.

Make sure you take care of you and if the worst happens, don't beat yourself up. You can't tie him up and take him to a doctor and handcuff yourself to him during his appointment. You can't stand over him every day and force the pills into his mouth and make him swallow. You're giving him practical and emotional support and that's all you can do.

The rest is up to him. I hope he wakes up and takes charge of his hiv before it's too late.

edit...

PS - you know, that cough of his could also be something like TB, because TB can also cause a chronic cough. Don't think that people in the US don't get TB - they do and it's actually on the rise.

See if you can't get him to go to a doctor for his cough, for your sake if he won't do it for his own sake. You don't want to be exposed to TB because unlike PCP, you can catch TB from him.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 04:15:48 AM by Ann »
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"...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

 


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