Posts Tagged ‘msmoc’

“Wait a minute did I take my meds?” This is a question I often ask even if my pill box, mobile application, or friend says I have. Anxiety, nervousness, fear, and due diligence keep me on track to continue to the best of my ability to take my medications faithfully. For me the process of taking my three medications everyday at 9 am is an experience both with and without emotion.  Every time I swallow my pills, I am reminded that HIV is living inside me.

What Motivates Me (Inside and Out)

According to the CDC, one in four people living with HIV have achieved viral suppression. In other words, three out of four people living with HIV in the United States have either not connected to care or do not adhere to their medication to achieve viral suppression (meaning they have a very low level of HIV in your blood). And while that doesn’t mean I’m cured, by lowering the amount of virus in my body with medicines can keep me healthy, I am able to live longer, and significantly reduce chances of passing HIV on to others. To ensure that I have a great future is the motivating factor behind me staying focused on taking my medication as prescribed. I am proud that to I’m able to maintain my undetectable viral load while increasing my CD4 count/percentage. Seeing those lab results helps to show improvement and reward my diligence of staying on track.

Many people may be surprised when I use rewards to treat my success of staying adherent. Giving myself a pat on the back in the form of something that I enjoy gives me a goal to work toward.  I call myself a “cheatatarian,” because I tend to often sneak out of my vegetarian diet. My love for chicken sandwiches and seafood is ridiculous; therefore, when I stay adherent without any issues for the month I reward myself by going to my favorite restaurant and having some of those foods (in moderation of course)!

A good physical, mental, spiritual, and organizational balance also helps me stay adherent to my HIV meds. Even with my busy schedule running Pozlifeofpatrick Exit Disclaimer, going to school, and managing my professional duties, I always make personal quiet time. That “quiet time” might be playing my favorite game, training for my upcoming marathon, and video chatting with a friend or mentor. And while these activities aren’t necessarily “quiet”, the silence comes in being able to separate out the stressors of the blog, school, and work. This helps me slow down and take the time to focus on my medications.

Helpful Tools (Online and Off)

Tools like pillboxes and mobile applications can also help to remind people to take their medications. Personally, I use Care4Today Exit Disclaimer which alerts me to take my meds and helps me chart my adherence.  When I am out of town, it reminds me on east coast time (and even asks me to change the time zone). But the feature I find most helpful, is that it notifies providers or family members if I have not taken my medication. There are many online tools and applications like Care4Today,including pill monitor Exit DisclaimerThebody.com’s personal reminder service Exit Disclaimer, and RxmindMe Exit Disclaimer that have similar functions. All can be helpful for people who need a reminder or that will check in with a support person when/if you miss a day. Offline, I take extra care to ensure that I have my HIV medication located in my bag that I take everywhere (in a nice discreet carrier). This helps me just in case if I am in a rush and totaly forget about my medications.

Finding out what motivates you to stay adherent, along with a system that fits with your lifestyle, is the key. If you are living

– See more at: http://blog.aids.gov/2014/05/black-voices-wait-a-minute-did-i-take-my-meds.html#sthash.4MlQhK0f.dpuf

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This year has already started off busy as ever.  My blogging has definitely taken a hit but I assure you I am not out (rather just trying to get the word out about Pozlife).  Tomorrow I will be flying in the skies above again and touching down in Atlanta, Georgia for the 2014 Policy and Advocacy Summit, which comes via the Young Black Gay Men’s Leadership Initiative.

Alongside 55 other young Black Gay, Bisexual, Same Gender-Loving Men (MSMs) we will spend 2 and 1/2 days of an great opportunity.  The summit will have over 12 sessions ranging from the Affordable Care Act and its impact on young Black gay men to how to survive as a young Black gay professional.  This summit in my opinion definitely helps to address many issues that Black gay men are dealing with, and plant the seed for more continued invest by Black gay men to be better leaders in their communities.

There will also be a Twitter Town Hall  t to ensure all who cannot make it are included and to spread awareness on the topic at hand which is the portrayal of Black gay men in media.  The Twitter Town Hall will be held on Thursday, April 3, from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. (ET), as part of a panel discussion with a live audience. Twitter users can join this conversation using the same #ybgli . Online viewers can watch the panel discussion via visiting YBGLI YouTube Channel  for a live feed.  So tune in and continue to keep an eye out on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for content and information.

 

For information on YBGLI check out http://ybgli.org

 

 

 

 

 

Check out my new series that discusses HIV in rural communities. I interview individuals who are actually on the ground leading the fight against this growing epidemic in rural Virginia. Please share and spread the word!