CDC’s HIV Treatment Works: Whitney’s Story
[ Music ] [Background Music] When I found out that I had HIV it was shocking. It didn't register and I was like 'oh, I'll be fine'. But once I got home by myself it was very humbling.
It was very emotional. I'm so used to having action plans, I'm so used to, you know, getting myself together and just, you know, going on to conquer the next thing and I felt like it was over. For me, accessing care was, it was difficult in the beginning because I was very unknowledgeable so I had to find out how would I be able to afford everything because my hormonal replacement therapy I was buying everything directly out of pocket and it was very expensive and then when I found out I had HIV I was like this is another bill.
The way I found this clinic was I got with my support group and they gave me information and a lot of them told me the do's and dont's and they told me where to go and where not to go and from the staff to the front desk to the doctors they're very knowledgeable. Everybody is very friendly. They have a doctor that specializes in HIV.
They have a doctor that specializes in transgender women and men. They have transgender counseling; I get that once a week, every Monday. And it's wonderful, it's great. What motivates me to continue to take my HIV medicine is the results I get from it, the energy. I notice the change with my health and I felt better.
The tips that I would have for other trans women is to make sure that you stay on your HIV medicine, make sure you keep taking your HIV medicine because it's going to keep you healthy because it can be difficult at times but just make sure that you, you know, stay on your meds and continue to take it because there's going to be challenges. The message that I would give to other, to other trans women that are living with HIV is to make sure that they're knowledgeable, get knowledgeable, you know? Do research on the computer, go to the library, read books. You know, just don't count on the provider. When you go to the doctor you can tell him, hey, this is what's going on, this is what I want to do, can we try this, give him suggestions as well. As a person living with HIV living well means to me maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You know, have different activities that you're involved in, you know, support groups. If you like to work out, if you like to go to the gym, you like to go to the movies, having a normal life and making sure you have a support system that's around you and that's constantly uplifting you because you're going to need it, you know, to remind you what it is that you're trying to accomplish.
HIV treatment works. Get in care, stay in care, live well. [ Music ].
I am a widow, the mother of six children. When I began taking ARV medicines, they were free. But later, they made me pay $5 for each consultation. I had to stop the treatment and I…By: VIDEO MSF OCB
[ Music ] [Background Music] When I found out that I had HIV it was shocking. It didn't register and I was like 'oh, I'll be fine'. But once I got home by myself it…By: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)