On Being ARV (antiretroviral) Compliant as a Child – and you thought your medicine regimen was bad

If you overnighted at my house you might smile, even remark at the repetitive, persistent manner in which my wife or I call out and insist on a twice daily basis that our three still-at-home children comply with their daily allergy and asthma medications.


Our medicine drawer

For us, compliance is a practical, making-life-easier insistence.  That is, when our girls consistently take their prescribed meds life is easier for us parents.  There are fewer doctor visits, they sleep through the night, and more importantly – so do we.

Imagine, though, that my girls weren’t suffering simply from allergies and asthma, but instead had contracted HIV/AIDS at no fault of their own (and in many to most adult or parental cases – especially women – little fault of their own) – whether by mother-to-child transmission, blood transfusion, rape, a dirty needle, etc.

Further imagine, that one or both of us parents were either deceased, divorced or living apart, and that our girls were obligated to shift back and forth between multiple residences – each time having the primary responsibility, themselves, to remember not only to take a change of clothes, toothbrush, hair brush, pajamas, but also ARVs (antiretrovirals).


A three-month paediatric supply of antiretrovirals

And imagine – no, don’t imagine, know this:  With ARVs, regimented compliance (SAME TIME, EVERY DAY, ALL DAYS) is critical if you want to live a modicum of a “normal” and lengthy life.  It’s likely that since the picture I took of a child’s three-month ARV supply (below), there are newer drug “cocktails” (medicine combinations) that likely lessen the volume of meds required daily – still, it’s an unfathomable amount for a “normal” and healthy person.


A daily dosage

If you read any of my recent posts you likely picked up on the fact that “perspective” is on my mind a lot these days.  Life is difficult and messy, and sometimes I have to go searching for “things” or memories with which to “perspectify” my life (yes, you can borrow the word I just made up without fear of copyright infringement!).

If you’re on a daily regimen of prescribed medications, perhaps this insight into a single child with AIDS’s struggle for life will provide a dose of thankful reminder as to how much worse off your situation could be.  Or, maybe, like me, you take a nightly Zyrtec tablet, maybe two snorts of Nasonex, but overall you’re “healthy, wealthy, and wise” (to borrow a favorite phrase of my girls from Bollywood’s “Bride & Prejudice”), then hopefully this blog will prompt you to offer a thought, prayer, maybe more, for the millions of people – young and old – who of necessity aren’t healthy or wealthy.

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