justin terry smith

Over 1 million Americans live with HIV. While treatable, medical costs are often exorbitant. The CDC reports that the estimated lifetime cost of treating HIV is $379,000 (in 2010 dollars), and that nearly 30 percent of those living with the virus are uninsured.

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Justin Terry-Smith was diagnosed with HIV in 2006. He lives in Washington D.C., a city whose HIV infection rate exceeds the World Health Organization’s definition of a “severe epidemic.”

“The medical costs are and forever will be a burden,” he says. “People need to understand that our bodies are not meant to be medicated against a chronic illness every single day it not only cost us physically but financially whether we have insurance or not.“

While Terry-Smith is fortunate to be insured, here’s a look at what he would have to pay each month if he wasn’t covered.

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Photo credit: Don Harris