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CHECK Nord #4

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ENGLISH hiv THE STUPID VIRUSES and my first depot injection Photo: tashatuvango/ Since I tested positive in 2011, I’ve been following developments in HIV research even more closely. Anyone who catches a deadly virus that just won’t leave the body will inevitably become curious. And also a little paranoid. After all, you don’t want to pass the virus on and you want to protect yourself and others. Every day I had to take pills to treat my infection. But now there is an alternative: a depot injection. This means that active substances are injected that lower the viral load below the detection limit. It lasts for up to two months. A blessing? Spoiler: well, it is for me at least. Let me explain why. NOT A LUXURY PROBLEM Changing therapy is not medically necessary. But I can no longer stand taking pills for various reasons. They always remind me of the infection. And I can also do without the well-intentioned, understanding looks from the security staff at airports when during hand luggage check they see that I must be somehow chronically ill. I am a haptic person and while grateful that medication is available to me at all, I am tired of feeling it on my tongue every day before I swallow it. So I asked my doctor whether this new form of therapy would be an option for me. Since I take my tablets regularly and always show up for my regular blood screenings, this was not a problem. The tests have shown that my body tolerates the active ingredients well and that there is no resistance. Meaning they do what they are supposed to: fight the viruses. For me, the only thing that changes is the drug and how it is administered. And after about three weeks of preparation time, I finally got my first dose injected into the buttocks. DAY OF THE SHOT The appointment for the first injection fell in the middle of the fourth corona wave. 46 CHECK NORD #4

hiv Booster-willing folks lined up from outside the building up to the practice on the second floor. If looks could kill I would not have made it past the queue into the waiting room alive. The atmosphere was so tense that I could have cut right through it with a knife. Was I at a vaccination practice or McDonalds right before closing? I guess every pandemic needs a degree of aggressiveness. But my doctor didn’t let himself be stressed. He gave me the necessary consultation time and also an appointment for the next injection, which was in two months time. I understood all the information and while the most famous new scientific achievement at the moment, the corona vaccination, was being injected in the cubicles next to me, I was being injected with my first pill-free month in about ten years. FEAR AND NONSENSE Every gay person probably experiences the fear of being infected with HIV at least once in their life. The joy about a depot injection is as such rather seldom. Sometimes I wonder if I’m too much of a scientist. But the many alternative theories about HIV and the nasty pharmaceutical industry did not really confuse me, rather strengthened and amused me at times. Especially the theory that HIV does not exist and that the immune systems of homosexuals no longer work because they suffer so much from discrimination. I trust new pharmaceutical products that have been approved. At the same time, I love revelatory documentaries and have seen some about the pharmaceutical industry, too. But weeds even grow in a rose garden. Maybe in the age of accountability you just have to hire more and better gardeners? There are many positive stories. Like that of the English lady who conducted and eventually interrupted a PrEP study she was supervising because the success was so clearly visible after such a short time. She considered it irresponsible to withhold this protection against HIV from the people in the control group who did not use PrEP as a comparison. How many infections did her actions prevent? In order to answer that, in order to be able to form a well-founded opinion, we would first have to take a look at the statistics again. And before you know it, you’re sitting on an imaginary talk show with your own fears and prejudices. I understand that alternative theories are definitely more fun than an infection or its treatment, let alone the ceaseless research into a solution for the problem. Can’t we just invent a remedy that heals the whole world of everything and makes sure that no one gets sick anymore? It would all be so much more fun. If it weren’t for those stupid viruses. (ts,mb) RAINER WITT ZAHNARZT Bei uns steht der Mensch im Mittelpunkt. Praxis für Ästhetische Zahnheilkunde und Implantologie Rainer Witt Holsteiner Chaussee 267 22457 Hamburg Rainer Witt Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt Implantologie ZÄ Yvonne Zecher Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt Alterszahnheilkunde ZA Christoph Merz Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt Endodontie Tel. (040) 55 50 59 62 Fax (040) 55 50 59 63 Öffnungszeiten: Mo – Do: 8 – 19 Uhr Fr: 8 – 12Uhr CHECK NORD #4 47

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