For many us, when we think of HIV/AIDS it's often assumed that the survivors of this virus live in urban parts with an infrastructure to support individuals seeking care, treatment and support. Nick Rhoades, a 36-year old gay man who spoke at the Senate briefing on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program Crisis, shared the humbling moment of moving back home to live with mom when he lost access to his lifesaving medications. He spoke to the depression that sets in while being challenged with the physical, mental and emotional burden of HIV/AIDS when you don't have access to your life-sustaining medications - the constant conversation in the back of the head asking how much sicker do I need to get before I die.
Nick currently has access to his medication for only another two months. Just before he left for Washington, DC, his mother embraced him and told him to tell Congressional staffers that she cannot go back to a day of seeing her son decay and erode. His mother is counting down the days until her baby loses access to his treatment under a special pharmaceutical sponsored compassionate access program.
At the briefing, Nick shared that ADAP was the key that opened the door to his wellness and his panic as these next two months tick away.