Medical aid official leaves a bitter taste

I have lived with HIV for more than 17 years and in all this time I have never imagined that I could directly become an unprovoked victim of abuse from an insensitive, dismissive and vindictive official who works for a medical aid scheme of which I am a member.

I have lived with HIV for more than 17 years and in all this time I have never imagined that I could directly become an unprovoked victim of abuse from an insensitive, dismissive and vindictive official who works for a medical aid scheme of which I am a member.

Needless to say, I have fought countless battles on behalf of millions of people living with HIV who were and continue to be unfairly discriminated against. I have fought for access to treatment for millions of poverty-stricken people in our country. I have struggled and on numerous occasions sacrificed my own life by challenging unscrupulous and unfair practices from the insurance industry.

However, on Monday I became yet another statistic when I was insulted by a medical aid representative, supposedly a training manager with the organisation.

I called the offices after their failure to deliver my anti-retroviral treatment for a number of days, as a consequence of which I defaulted on complying or adhering to following the strict regimen that is prescribed to ensure the effectiveness of such medication.

To my shock, I got more than I bargained for. The representative was on the verge of insulting me and my intelligence.

She was rude and insensitive to my anxiety, panic and nervousness because I had missed a number of dosages of Combivir.

The dispute in question related to the fact that she had not received my script, therefore, the life-long medication was not processed on my behalf.

In other words, what she was implying is that to follow up would most probably have been equal to moving a mountain or worse still, that because of that unintended discrepancy I deserved to suffer the consequences.

"How am I supposed to know that you have done your blood with your doctor; am I expected to smell it?" she yelled at me as I was sweating with anger, battling to remain calm.

For two important reasons what she was saying was surprising.

A few months earlier I was forced to take generic medicine when I had not been consulted about the impending change of prescription.

Secondly, my medical adviser had also not been informed of this change despite the medical aid having his contact details and access to him at all times.

To add insult to injury, most patronisingly, she called me the following day to inform me that my medication would be sent through to me, without apologising for her rude behaviour the previous day.

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