Justin's HIV Journal

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Justin’s HIV Journal: H1N1 (Swine Flu)

Having HIV is hard enough but when you have to watch out for other diseases as well it make life all the more harder. I’m sure all of you have been bombarded with the media’s warning and coverage of the H1N1 virus, but the information needs to be widely distributed. Again I’m not a doctor and I got my information from the CDC website which I have sited. Please protect yourself. I’m also doing this for the people that are infected with diseases that compromise their immune systems.
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), several studies have reported higher hospitalization rates, prolonged illness and increased mortality, especially among persons with AIDS. Remember AIDS is when your CD4 count is 200 or lower.

Also other diseases that compromise the immune systems, and especially persons with low CD4 cell counts or AIDS can experience more severe complications of seasonal influenza and it is possible that HIV-infected adults and adolescents are also at higher risk for novel influenza A (H1N1) virus infection complications. Some of there complications are opportunistic infections

There are certain things that you can do to that might prevent you from spreading or becoming infected with the H1N1 virus. Please frequently wash your hands, cover you mouth when you cough, and have ill people stay home to seek medical care. Also, you might want to minimize contact with others in the household who may be ill with novel influenza A (H1N1) virus.

Additional measures that can limit transmission of a new influenza strain include reduction of unnecessary social contacts, and avoidance whenever possible of crowded settings in communities where novel influenza A (H1N1) is circulating. If used correctly, facemasks and respirators may help reduce the risk of getting influenza, but they should be used along with other preventive measures, such as avoiding close contact with ill persons and maintaining good hand hygiene.

How do I know if I have the flu?

You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms:
• fever *
• cough
• sore throat
• runny or stuffy nose
• body aches
• headache
• chills
• fatigue
• sometimes diarrhea and vomiting

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Most people with 2009 H1N1 have had mild illness and have not needed medical care or antiviral drugs and the same is true of seasonal flu. BUT people that have diseases that effect their immune systems are at higher risk and will need medical care if infected with the H1N1 virus.

• Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
• People 65 and older
• Pregnant women
• People who have:
o Cancer
o Blood disorders (including sickle cell disease)
o Chronic lung disease [including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)]
o Diabetes
o Heart disease
o Kidney disorders
o Liver disorders
o Neurological disorders (including nervous system, brain or spinal cord)
o Neuromuscular disorders (including muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis)
o Weakened immune systems (including people with AIDS)

What are the emergency warning signs?

In children
• Fast breathing or trouble breathing
• Bluish skin color
• Not drinking enough fluids
• Not waking up or not interacting
• Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
• Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
• Fever with a rash

In adults
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
• Sudden dizziness
• Confusion
• Severe or persistent vomiting

The H1N1 virus is like HIV in a way; it doesn’t matter where you live, what color you are, what your age is, or your creed it can infect you if you do not take the proper precautions to protect yourself and others.

Thank you

Justin B Smith
Justin’s HIV Journal

Monday, September 14, 2009

Justin's HIV Journal: Ask Justin

Hello Everyone
I hope all is well.

Recently I did an interview with The Body.com, which is an HIV/AIDS resource center and aftet that I’ve gotten a lot of e-mails from people.

After this interview I decided to share some stories with you about people that are infected or affected with HIV. I’m starting an advice column called, “Justin’s HIV Journal: Ask Justin”.

As some of you know I get e-mails from all over the world. The e-mails that I get are from critics, fans, people asking from advice, and some hate mail. I’ve decided to give my opinions on all categories. I’ve decided on three e-mails and here they are.

Also be on the look out for my HIV Profile where I profile some that either are living or are passed. Every month someone will be profiled for their past work or work in the community. E-mails are welcomed Thank you very much for watching and reading. 

Hey Justin how r you? I admire you for so many reasons. The reason I'm emailing is to talk about marriage. I want to know how do you find Mr. Right and about married life. I've always been commitment and marriage minded. However I haven't met the man whose really on the same page and not just saying he is. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Justin, how are things, sorry that I have not kept up with you....got side tracked with many things....but what I always wanted to ask you....

How do deal with the sex and your partner? Since my partner was tested, we have not been able to be intimate...do you have any advice? It is almost like asking you to guide me in how to become intimate again...I know about the precautions, but the thing is how to get over all the things that go thru your mind about what to do, how to do it,,,,is there an instruction manual or something that can show you or teach about how to deal with this situation.

I would be very happy to here from you soon.

justen when i was 16 years old my god brother and myself was raped an spoon fed crack by three men who had the AIDS virus. My god brother told what haped and tested positive. He promised not to tell the same thing happened to me because i thought i was to cool for any one to know what happened. About 12 yaers later after several suicide missions i got tested in 1996 test where positive. Still full of anger and resentments i countinued to take my own life for the past 25 Years untill may of 2008 when i found Jesus Christ . To day in my process of becoming Holly i wouldn't trade it for anything in this world

Mr. Justin B. Smith
Justin’s HIV Journal


By submitting a letter to this website, you grant Justin B. Smith permission to publish it on this site or elsewhere including print publications. Your Full Name and email address will never be included or distributed.

Justin B. Smith offers his opinions on a variety of subjects. He is expressing personal opinions and views. These opinions or views are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed physician or mental health professional.

Justin B. Smith is not responsible for the outcome or results of following his advice in any given situation. You are completely responsible for your actions and Justin B. Smith does not accept any liability for any situation in your life past, present or future.
Justin B. Smith reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity.

Private Advice by Email or Private Advice by Phone
The advice offered by email or phone is intended for informational purposes only. Use of email or telephone to provide this advice is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist.

Justin B. Smith offers his opinions and perspectives on a variety of subjects. These opinions or views are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed physician or mental health professional.

Justin B. Smith is not responsible for the outcome or results of following his advice in any given situation. You are completely responsible for your actions and Justin B. Smith does not accept any liability for any situation in your life past, present or future.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Justin’s HIV Journal: Medco Pharmacy Gets Your HIV Medication in the Mail

Hello Everyone:

As most of you know getting your HIV Medication is an expensive, but with a Medco it can be a little less than going to your neighborhood pharmacy.

Right now I’m on Norvir, Truvada and Reyataz which is a good combination for me it seems to be working well. But getting my medication is harder than it sounds. My HIV medication cost around $1800.00 dollars. When I lived in Baltimore and worked in the medical field I had Blue Choice Medical Insurance that didn’t cover as much as I needed. My medications then cost me about $250.00 dollars. So when I moved to Laurel, Maryland and got a job with the Federal Government I chose Blue Cross Blue Shield. No that helped me a lot my medication cost me about $225.00 dollars, but that still wasn’t enough.

I needed my medication to be less expensive than that.

So then my friend Brian Moore told me about Medco and how you can be sent your medication in the mail. I never knew that a person could get their medications in the mail, least of all for HIV. So I went to the Medco website registered and filled out one of their online forms. I then faxed the form to my doctor and he faxed it with my prescriptions to Medco Pharmacy. I got my medications in about a 10 business days.

BUT that’s NOT the best part. I got 90 days worth of Norvir, Truvada and Reyataz and it cost me $65.00 a prescription. So $65.00 x 3 = $195.00 which will last me 3 months. It’s amazing.

Mind you it takes about a week to process especially for first time users of the pharmacy. I wanted to make sure EVERYONE knew about this service just in case they wanted to use it for HIV or any other medications they had.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

This Positive Life: An Interview With Justin B. Smith

This Positive Life: An Interview With Justin B. Smith

Hello and welcome. This is Bonnie Goldman, Editorial Director of TheBody.com. Welcome to This Positive Life. I'm here today with Justin B. Smith. Today I'll be talking with Justin about what it's like to live with HIV. Welcome, Justin.


Getting Tested for HIV

Let's start at the very beginning. Can you start by describing how you found out you were HIV positive?

I kind of had an idea that something was wrong with me anyway. I was sweating in bed and I didn't understand why I was sweating so hard. "Why am I sweating? I have satin sheets. This doesn't make any sense."

Then I woke up and as soon as I sat up, I threw up twice on the side of my bed. I ran to the bathroom and I threw up on the side of my toilet and I finally got the last one inside the toilet. [laughs]

I knew something was wrong. I decided to go to the clinic -- to Us Helping Us, People Into Living, Incorporated, in [Washington] D.C., which specializes in LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] testing, awareness and education targeting African Americans.

Do they have free HIV testing?

Yes, it's free testing.

How long ago was this?

I went to them in 2006. I used to work there back in 2004. I went there to work as their administrative assistant. I knew I could trust them. I had friends there that were still working there. I went there and I called my friend Brian. He was off. I went in, got the test. It was a 20-minute OraSure test.

It was a swab test where they swab inside of your mouth and then they test it.

So this is a rapid test and you could immediately find out if you're HIV positive?

Yes, in twenty minutes.

What was your expectation while you waited for the results?

"Going home with somebody when you're high or drunk, you really don't think about a lot of the things that you should be thinking about, like condom use."

A million things were running through my mind. "I'm 26 years old. You know, there's no reason why..." Ignorantly, of course, I had thought I couldn't be positive, "My name is Justin B. Smith. How could I be positive? Dada dada dada. I'm Justin B. Smith. How could I be positive? I'm an example."

I thought about my past behavior. [laughs] "I went out and I drank a lot and I used to do drugs -- cocaine being my drug of choice. I used to lead a very dangerous life, I guess.

For the Whole Interview

Go to this link