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HIV Care as Patient and Provider

Jason Tokumoto, MD, discusses how occupying the role of both patient and physician can provide a human perspective on HIV care.

Segment Description: Jason Tokumoto, MD, discusses how occupying the role of both patient and physician can provide a human perspective on HIV care.

Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):

Tokumoto: A lot of people have problems taking a large pill.

I realized I have that same problem with another medication that I had to take in addition to the Biktarvy, the Biktarvy is a pill that is small enough that I think most people can take but I have to take Septra, which is the prophylaxis for PCP, pneumocystis pneumonia, and it's a pretty large pill. Sometimes I can't take the pill, I have to choke, so it's not easy.

I realized that I have done things with some of my patients without really understanding kind of the human part of that piece, I was more academic, data driven, but there's this other side that has really made me aware of some of the issues.

The cost of the medication. As I indicated, I was shocked to see that 30 day supply of Biktarvy, $3,800. $40,000 a year. And to me…we need to look at that. $40,000 a year if I didn't have any insurance, I wouldn't be able to pay for.

But we also have a strong community support for this population. So usually you will have a way of funding that medication for that person. And that I think is a reflection of our society realizing that we have these high costs, we have to cover it somehow otherwise, a lot of patients, will not have these medications. And do keep in mind that these medications are not only to help the patient in terms of the medical piece, decreasing mortality and morbidity, but by becoming undetectable, you prevent transmitting it to other individuals.

So, there's many aspects of care and treatment that extend beyond just the health of the patient.