“Twenty years ago, I found out I was sick. I found out from a blood test I had done at a Kaiser hospital, and I was living in California at that time. It was terrifying at first. I didn’t think it was possible.”
That was the reaction of an HSNT patient when he discovered he was HIV positive. The man, who will be named Amadi due to his wish to remain anonymous, described his diagnosis as “shocking.”
These days, HIV can be managed and is not quite the earth-shattering sickness that it once was. However, that’s not to say living with it is easy. To manage it properly, you need help from medical professionals. Before Amadi found HSNT, his experience was rough.
“The doctor I was seeing at the time told me there were meds for it, and I was still in denial, so I was like ‘Let’s go with that, yeah.’ When I first started taking them, they were horrible. I was throwing up and nauseated…. I kept thinking ‘Who? How? Do the tests again,’ you know? The first two years were bumpy.”
When Amadi moved to the Dallas/Fort-Worth area with his son in 2014, he started care with an infectious disease practice in Irving that he was satisfied with – but then this year, the COVID-19 pandemic caused him to lose his job and his insurance.
“When I lost my job due to this whole thing, they called me with an appointment, and I told them I couldn’t come to the appointment because I didn’t have insurance. They said ‘Well, we have these two people…give them a call and see what they say.’ So I called [HSNT], and I got ahold of somebody who gave me a case worker. And that’s how I met Pam.”
Pamela Jackson, one of HSNT’s Medical Care Managers , took on Amadi’s case this past June. She gave him a call to introduce herself and started asking questions to get to know Amadi and exactly what he was dealing with.
"She was figuring out what to do, and what I was on. It was a big deal because it was an hour of questions and everything, which is actually awesome. It’s kind of personal, of course, but you have to be honest about it cause if you want help, you can’t lie about what you’re doing,” says Amadi. “And because I was honest, Dr. [Arlene] Hudson was able to look at everything and help me out with what I need to do.”
Amadi was most impacted by how personal Pamela and Dr. Hudson made his experience feel. Not once did he walk out of an appointment feeling like he was just another number on a chart.
“I felt like the only patient of hers,” Amadi says. “I’d call [Pam] with a question and in just a second she would call me back, I’d send an email and she’d reply. I don’t feel like you guys treated me like a number – I was an individual. And that gave me the motivation to say ‘You know what? I need to get serious about what’s going on.’”
To help make ends meet for him and his son, Amadi is starting his own transportation business. While he does his best to build it up and work toward financial security, HSNT is helping him build his own confidence in his healthcare journey.