Getting Results Award winner offers compassion, guidance to HIV clients

Robin Grieves' office is place of comfort for her clients

OCALA, Fla. – Robin Grieves, human services program specialist for the Marion County Health Department, is this week's News 6 Getting Results Award winner.

Grieves works in the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), helping people navigate the process of getting government help for their medication.

"The medications have come a long way. People are living longer, better, healthier lives," she said, pointing to sample pills on her desk.

Grieves said HIV patients in the past had to take a number of pills as part of their treatment. Today, that's down to one pill a day, but the costs can be prohibitive for many.

"The cost of these meds can be anywhere from $1,700 to $3,000 a month," she said, running her fingers along the display, a rainbow of pills, each one about the size of a multivitamin.  

Grieves has been working at the Marion County Health Department for 23 years, and she said she's made it a point to offer support to her clients.

"Always hold on to hope and be encouraging," she said, describing her interactions.

The walls of her office are decorated with signs of support.

"The clients are always telling me, 'You can't leave. You can't go anywhere," she said.

One of those clients nominated her for the Getting Results Award, writing: "She has helped hundreds, possibly thousands of people, get medication we would not otherwise know how to get. She just wants to help patients! I know she deserves this award and many more."  

The person who wrote to News 6 declined an interview, saying many of his friends don't know that he is HIV-positive and that revelation might affect his relationships.

It's a sentiment that Grieves has heard before.

"The world is cruel. You can't come out and tell the world you have HIV and expect it to be accepted," she said. "There's still a lot of stigma, and hopefully, one day, it won't be like that." 

Grieves said she found her passion in helping people navigate the financial and emotional challenges of living with HIV.

"I truly feel that helping people, you get that," she said before pausing and putting her hands to her chest. "I can't explain it, but it's a special thing in your heart that you've touched somebody."

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