CDC’s HIV Treatment Works: Whitney’s Story

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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 ]