Positive Living BC’s members count on the annual Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life to help lead healthy lives.
Although antiretroviral (ARV) medications are covered under current government drug plans, those living with HIV also depend on a large selection of vitamins, supplements, alternative health care and other products and services to help them deal with side effects and boost their immune systems. The annual AIDS Walk is the largest fundraiser of the year for Positive Living BC, with the money raised going directly to help fund the organization’s Complementary Health Fund (CHF) which reimburses users up to $35 per month.
Member Denis Hachey says the CHF helps him deal with stomach problems caused by medication, and allows him to consider taking other recommended supplements. “It’s really beneficial to have that option. It makes you feel a lot better about taking care of yourself”.
Richard Partridge, another member to tap into the much needed CHF funds, says he takes a potassium supplement to stay out of the hospital with this single supplement costing $70 per month and which is not covered by other plans. In total he spends $200 a month on complementary health care.
“Sure, the antiretrovirals are keeping us alive, but there are a lot of other meds that can add to the quality of our lives that are not covered,” he says.
The medical community has made great strides in helping to control HIV, which means people are living longer, but the need is still great.
“It’s not a life sentence now; it’s a chronic condition,” Partridge says. “We’re living longer now, and we want to live healthy. Your support can help people in need.”
The 2013 Vancouver AIDS Walk for Life takes place on Sunday, September 22, starting at Sunset Beach at 10am. The theme this year is “All About the Shoes” with participants encouraged to wear their wildest, craziest or most colourful shoes to the walk. Visit http://aidswalkvancouver.ca for more information on how to participate or to make a donation.