1st Appointment

November 13th,2018

St.Claires Hospital

Just checking in now for the appointment, obviously I’ve been to appointments in Taiwan so I know what to expect, and if works similar to how it does in Taiwan, in the sense that it’s like a dedicated space of the hospital with kind of like an express, they have a dedicated doctor and support staff so you don’t have to wait as long to get stuff done and they know what they’re at.

So they’ve since received my blood and UA results from two weeks ago, and my CD4 was at 498 at that point, so today I’m guessing we’re just going to go over those results and then as well choose which medicine I’m going to take. Obviously at this point I’ve only been back in Newfoundland for a couple months so I won’t be covered by MCP until the three month date, and after that I’ll have coverage.

I’ve decided to delay going to Vancouver until the 9th or so because I want to make sure that I’ll be able to retain my medical coverage after I leave Newfoundland. Basically the way it works is that Newfoundland will cover me until the medical coverage in BC kicks in. So I just need to make sure I’ve stayed in Newfoundland for the full three months.


Anyways I’ll update this post as soon as I finish my appointment at the hospital today and have a better idea of what the plan is. 

Okay so basically I saw the doctor, the social worker and Kim again and just talked about my blood test results, the available drug options and what to do in terms of coverage: Without coverage in Canada medical prescriptions can be like more then $1500 a month. Which is insane. 

So basically MCP doesn’t cover those costs you need to apply for the Newfoundland Labrador Prescription Drug Program. Which is probably going to be my choice honestly because then I can still afford to go to school and keep taking my meds obviously.

The other choice is to actually apply for income assistance, translation: Welfare. Like no. I love how the government is so willing to adopt PrEP into MCP coverage but then they’d rather those that actually have HIV sit at home collecting money from the government. Like what quality of life is that? Treating HIV is so much more then just taking meds there is also a lot that goes with it emotionally and the government needs to wake up to that.

Anyways in reviewing my options, I’m going to go ahead and apply for the NLPDP coverage and I was told that takes around 7 days to be approved. That way obviously I won’t screw with my eligibility for student loans, and I’ll be able to work as normal. There’s a co-pay but it’ll be doable anyways. 
At least my heart is still good lol, also during the checkup from the doctor at the appointment my kidneys are apparently super healthy as well so that’s good haha.

About HIV being a “non-issue”

We see so much coverage in media even in Canada sometimes or what agencies will tell you about how HIV is a totally manageable disease and how it’s not really even a thing. While this is completely true if you’re taking drugs it doesn’t even mention the fact that those drugs are upwards of $1500 dollars a month. And yes, thank my lucky stars like I’m from a family that I’m fortunate enough to not have to worry about making a decision to do the drug assistance plan and pay whatever co-pay there may be but, for those who aren’t in a situation like I am it’s hard to actually imagine that one of the solutions for you would be to go on income assistance and sit at home just so you can have 100% coverage for your meds.

Like if you didn’t have insurance prior from a third party, you’re not going to get it at this point because it’s a pre-existing condition. So it’s like; stop calling HIV a completely manageable no hassle disease if it boils down to like being on income assistance and doing shit all with your life, or struggling to pay thousands of dollars which isn’t really that doable either. 

Canada is so behind on so so many aspects when it comes to HIV treatment and support honestly. This isn’t to belittle anyone from the clinic I go to, they’re extremely helpful. And they do they’re best with what they have but it’s like, it’s just really stressful for me figuring out now how I finish school and do this. You don’t have an option to just stop taking meds like, my CD4 is 498, I don’t have the luxury of just waiting around for it to go lower, or I’ll wind up with AIDS or dead or something.

Sorry if this seems like a bit of a rant but it’s just like, I have to deal with shit emotionally as well and writing stuff out honestly helps me deal with the stress of it. I seriously believe that someday yes this won’t be so much of an issue, but I’m not supportive of painting an illusion that it is when in reality there are so many things to do and far to go before “normalization” if you will. 

I’m going to continue documenting everything and keeping a record for myself personally and for anyone who wants to follow along how things go in the future, but for me this is really just a record of how things have been, my experiences and emotions through treatment and hopefully how things improve in the long term.

Update

Made an appointment with the social worker for Friday to go ahead and apply for the NLPDP, so I’ll just be able to do that while working enough to pay for the associated co-pay with however much that is going to be.

I’m glad this this option exists actually. Anyways she said (Social Worker) that the application process is half complicated and making like one mistake can end up in your application being denied so I’ll go and meet with her on Friday at 11 to make the application and then it takes about seven days for the result once that’s done.

It’s crazy tho that there’s only 180 people currently confirmed as being HIV positive in the province, seems like Newfoundland has actually if you look at it from a statistical point of view, done a good job when it comes to HIV awareness and prevention. The road only gets a little more rocky when you have to actually be treated, but it might end up being fine in the coming weeks so we will see. I have classes starting on January 3 this year, but I’ll probably delay arriving in Vancouver until the 8th or 9th. Anyway we will see. Updates to come as we progress.m


王可森 (Kesen)

Canadian Born, Asia-Raised. Currently living in Taiwan. Interests include basically anything tech/web, music (Listen to my album on the left Menu!) Asian Politics and Policy, and Asian Boys lolol.