‘Drug holiday’ – afternoon update

It’s not what it sounds like.

A drug holiday, in the context of HIV/AIDS care, is going off all antiretroviral meds completely for a few days or weeks rather than missing some, taking others, and thereby substantially increasing the risk of developing drug resistance or cross-resistance.

It’s been a few weeks since I have taken all my meds, as prescribed, and have missed some times and taken others so it seems logical to just stay off them all – except my pdoc meds – until I see my HIV specialist next week…Wednesday I think it is.

I have so much catching up to do with him anyway.  This will not surprise him – he already knows that I didn’t have one of my meds with me the whole time I was at Mom’s or in Montreal – and he’s one who has always advocated taking all or nothing at all when it comes to meds.

Meanwhile the Seroquel is back in my system which has allowed me to start catching up on my sleep and peeling away from the ceiling.  As I put one foot in front of the other, being with supportive friends, and hitting a couple of meetings each day, I am getting back to my old self – slowly, I know, but surely (because I’ve done this before!)

Update:  My M.D. (not the HIV specialist but very well connected to him and familiar with everything) was able to see me this afternoon, last minute, and he confirmed that I should probably just stay off all the HIV meds until I see the specialist next week.  Tests will need to be done to see what, if any, resistance I might have developed (and he assured me that I might not necessarily have developed any.)  All in all, given everything else I filled him in about, he said there’s really no reason to worry – that it’s more important to get my life on track and we can sort out meds without too much panic.

So I’m feeling a lot less anxious about that.

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3 thoughts on “‘Drug holiday’ – afternoon update

  1. Kenn,
    I`d like to know more about the treatments for HIV and AIDS and the funding and research into more and better meds.Is there enough research going into it?Whose helping,who`s hindering?Do letters need to be written and to where?Can you point me to that info,either your blog or somewhere else.

  2. Hi Jamie

    Best resources in my links are probably AIDS.org and CATIE. There’s a lot of different treatments but combinations of the meds are different for everybody, depending on how long they’ve been infected, what they’ve already tried, etc.

    In my case, I’ve been getting treatments since there were only a couple of drugs available so I have used up many options along the way finding out which ones work best for me. But my doctor today was telling me about new treatments available and some which, although still experimental, are available through clinical trials – a process I’ve been familiar with as I was quite the human guinea pig back in the early 1990s.

    I can’t really complain about the amount of research and medications available. We’re very fortunate here in the rich countries. There’s a patchwork quilt, though, when it comes to paying for the prescriptions in Canada. Most provinces, including this one, have “catastrophic” drug plans whereby people who cannot afford $3500+ per month for meds, as mine cost, can have them paid for by provincial health plans. In my case the costs are shared between a private insurer I signed up for when I was still working and the government plan. I pay the $3500 up front, submit the receipts to the private insurer, get 80 percent back within a few weeks and then get the other 20 percent back from the government a couple times a year. So there’s a heavy load to carry on my credit card which, of course, is not an option for people without credit so in that case, assuming they don’t have private drug coverage of any kind, they get full coverage from the 20 percent funder in my case.

    If I fall through the cracks, not out of the realm of possibilities financially, I may have to try to get 100 percent coverage right off the start but I’m not there yet.

    The federal NDP is trying to make a priority of a national pharmaceutical program because we like to pride ourselves on our medicare system and yet the vast majority of Canadians have to pay for prescriptions- in whole or in part – and prescription drugs keep most of us out of hospitals so that ought to be seen as a net benefit to governments.

    Hope that’s helpful. 🙂

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