Growing up in a traditional, religious Latino household, Jorge faced the stress of stigma and condemnation common to many young gay men in his community. Already dealing with the challenges of his parents’ divorce, the disapproval that greeted his decision to come out to his mom at age 14 compounded his feelings of loneliness.
“My mom told me the worst thing in the world was to have a gay son,” Jorge says.
In college, however, his life changed.
“For me, college was a ticket to a new life,” he says. “And in that journey, I actually found love. It was the first time that someone had ever accepted me for who I was. But two years into our relationship, everything changed.”
That’s when Jorge discovered that his partner brought HIV into their lives.
Overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness and fear, after three years of living with HIV, Jorge found the courage to confide in his mom about his diagnosis. To his surprise and great relief, she responded with unwavering support and assured him that she would stand by his side and help him face his future.
Jorge was hardly alone in his community. Hispanic/Latinx men are four times more likely to have HIV or AIDS compared to their white counterparts.
Opening up about his status proved to be a pivotal moment for Jorge, giving him the clarity and strength to prioritize his health and his HIV treatment.
With the help of his doctor, he began taking a daily oral HIV medication, which allowed him to reach undetectable status – where the virus is suppressed to a level that is not able to be detected and can't be passed to others. For Jorge, managing the physical part of his status was a welcomed relief but the emotional part of HIV was an ongoing struggle.
He took a job at a health clinic to better educate himself about living with HIV and to help support others still struggling. This was the beginning of his journey of self-love and self-acceptance.
Jorge was happy to be on HIV treatment but wished there was a way to help him stay undetectable that didn’t require a daily pill, which, for him, was a daily reminder of his HIV status.
Working at the clinic, Jorge learned to champion his own needs and advocate for others in their unique situations, because no two people living with HIV are alike. He also learned that there were different treatment options available for people living with HIV.
After learning about the different treatment options, Jorge approached his doctor about an HIV treatment that didn’t require a daily oral pill. They discussed the pros and cons and agreed to change his prescription to CABENUVA (cabotegravir extended-release injectable suspension; rilpivirine extended-release injectable suspension), co-packaged for intramuscular use – a long-acting, complete HIV regimen that can be administered by a healthcare professional just six times a year. CABENUVA is a complete prescription regimen used to treat HIV-1 infection in people 12 years and older who weigh at least 77 lbs (35 kg), to replace their current HIV-1 medicines when their healthcare provider determines they meet certain requirements. Please see Important Safety Information below.
It’s important to know that CABENUVA is contraindicated for patients with a hypersensitivity reaction to cabotegravir or rilpivirine or for those receiving carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, rifabutin, rifampin, rifapentine, systemic dexamethasone (>1 dose), and St John's wort. The full Important Safety Information for CABENUVA can be found below for further details.
Jorge says he now feels free from the daily reminder of his HIV status.
Despite enduring countless hardships, Jorge discovered that resilience and self-acceptance bring their own rewards. In the face of adversity, he has become a passionate advocate for himself and individuals in the Latinx community who share similar experiences. Looking ahead, Jorge has great optimism for the future and is committed to addressing the culture and stigma in Latinx communities, aiming to create a safe and inclusive environment for all. He has dedicated himself to empowering others to take charge of their lives and well-being, reminding them that there is an abundance of hope and possibilities for those living with HIV.
“If someone were to ask me for advice, I’d tell them that they’re in charge of their life and they have to advocate for themselves,” said Jorge. “There are options out there that may fit your needs and lifestyle, you just have to find what's right for you. An HIV diagnosis does not have to define you, but it is a defining moment in your life, you must rise to the occasion and truly believe in yourself."
Have you experienced any of these challenges when taking a daily oral HIV medicine?
Do you hide your medication from those around you?
Is it difficult to remember to take your oral treatment every day?
Do you feel that your HIV medication is an uncomfortable daily reminder of your HIV status?
If you experience any of these challenges – you are not alone! Talk to your doctor about whether CABENUVA may be right for you.
Please see Important Safety Information below.
What is CABENUVA?
CABENUVA is a complete prescription regimen used to treat HIV-1 infection in people 12 years and older who weigh at least 77 lbs (35 kg), to replace their current HIV-1 medicines when their healthcare provider determines they meet certain requirements.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Do not receive CABENUVA if you:
have ever had an allergic reaction to cabotegravir or rilpivirine.
are taking certain medicines: carbamazepine; oxcarbazepine; phenobarbital; phenytoin; rifabutin; rifampin; rifapentine; dexamethasone (more than a single-dose treatment); St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum).
What are the possible side effects of CABENUVA?
CABENUVA may cause serious side effects, including:
Allergic reactions. Call your healthcare provider right away if you develop a rash with CABENUVA. Stop receiving CABENUVA and get medical help right away if you develop a rash with any of the following signs or symptoms: fever; generally ill feeling; tiredness; muscle or joint aches; trouble breathing; blisters or sores in mouth; blisters; redness or swelling of the eyes; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue.
Post-injection reactions have happened in some people within minutes after receiving their rilpivirine injection. Most symptoms resolved within minutes. Symptoms may include: trouble breathing; narrowing of airways; stomach cramps; sweating; numbness of the mouth; pain (eg, back and chest); feeling anxious; feeling warm; rash; feeling lightheaded or faint; blood pressure changes.
Liver problems. People with a history of hepatitis B or C virus or with certain liver function test changes may have an increased risk of developing new or worsening changes in certain liver tests during CABENUVA treatment. Liver problems have also happened in people without history of liver problems or other risk factors. Your healthcare provider may do blood tests to check your liver function. Call your healthcare provider right away if you develop any of the following signs or symptoms of liver problems: the skin or the white part of the eyes turns yellow (jaundice); dark or “tea-colored” urine; light-colored stools (bowel movements); nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of the stomach area; itching.
Depression or mood changes.Call your healthcare provider or get emergency medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms: feeling sad or hopeless; feeling anxious or restless; have thoughts of hurting yourself (suicide) or have tried to hurt yourself.
The most common side effects of CABENUVA include:
Pain, tenderness, hardened mass or lump, swelling, redness, itching, bruising, and warmth at the injection site; fever; tiredness; headache; muscle or bone pain; nausea; sleep problems; dizziness; rash.
These are not all the possible side effects of CABENUVA. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
Before receiving CABENUVA
Tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including if you:
have ever had a skin rash or an allergic reaction to medicines that contain cabotegravir or rilpivirine.
have ever had liver problems, including hepatitis B or C infection.
have ever had mental health problems.
are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if CABENUVA will harm your unborn baby. CABENUVA can remain in your body for up to 12 months or longer after the last injection.
are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take CABENUVA. You should not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. It is not known if CABENUVA can pass to your baby in your breast milk. Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby during treatment.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Some medicines interact with CABENUVA. Keep a list of your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. Do not start taking a new medicine without telling your healthcare provider.
How will I receive CABENUVA?
Once a month or once every 2 months, a healthcare provider will inject CABENUVA as 2 injections (cabotegravir and rilpivirine), one into the muscle of each side of your buttocks.
Before receiving your first CABENUVA injections, your healthcare provider may have you take 1 VOCABRIA (cabotegravir) tablet and 1 EDURANT (rilpivirine) tablet once a day for 1 month (at least 28 days) to assess how you tolerate these medicines.
Stay under the care of a healthcare provider during CABENUVA treatment. It is important that you attend all planned injection appointments.
If you miss or plan to miss a scheduled CABENUVA injection by more than 7 days, call your healthcare provider right away to discuss your treatment options.
If you stop treatment with CABENUVA you will need to take other medicines to treat your HIV-1 infection and reduce the risk of developing viral resistance. Call your healthcare provider right away to discuss your treatment options.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.