katie06's picture

In my last blog I wrote about how for the first time, I was feeling sick.  This time, I want to talk about the care I received. 

I went to my family doctor because I thought I had something wrong with my neck (extreme pain and a couple large lumps).  My family doctor was out, so I saw another physician available.  You should also know that I like my family doctor because I think she can relate to me as her brother died of AIDS. 

The doctor available, who saw me, said I likely slept wrong and prescribed a muscle relaxer.  The doctor then called me the following day to tell me that she had spoken to another doctor in the office, who was more familiar with HIV positive patients and they suggested I contact my HIV doctor.  They thought the large lumps could be a sign of my numbers dropping. 

I called my HIV doctor.  The HIV doctor told me it wasn’t the HIV and if it got worse to call my family doctor. 

A couple days later I was worse, so I called my family doctor.  I made an appointment and went in.  That’s when they discovered the shingles. 

For the first time, I realized that I’m going to get sick.  And I can’t help but wonder who’s going to take care of me.  Who am I supposed to call?  I felt like I was being pushed around. 

I love both my family doctor and my HIV doctor.  But I can’t help but wonder what my future holds.  My husband sees an HIV doctor who is also his family doctor.  He also seems to receive more comprehensive care.  For example, he gets many vaccines that no one has offered me.  He gets more lab work than I do, checking for things such as his liver, etc. 

I’m flustered and unsure where to turn.  Do I switch to my husband’s doctor?  Or keep the 2 I have?

I always liked having separate doctors because I liked having 2 different people to bounce treatment questions off of.   Also, I supposedly have one of the best doctors available; he’s well known in a major research hospital and incredibly difficult to get into.  But I came recommended, so he made an exception and accepted me as a new patient.  However, now I wonder if I have too many people looking after me and no one quite knows who’s taking care of what.




Vickie's picture

Having a number of different doctors can get a little confusing. I have been seeing the same HIV specialist for the past 12 years; I have been positive for 26 years. I go to a HIV Specialty Care Clinic in my area and they handle almost all of my health care needs. I also see a kidney specialist but he works VERY closely with my HIV doctors (there is a team at the clinic).

What doctors you are allowed to see is often dictated by your health insurance company; that might be the first place to start. Can your HIV also be your primary?

I personally would prefer one doctor or a team of doctors at one location.

In my opinion 'a good HIV specialist is going to treat the "whole" you not just your HIV'.

And don't get worried about "getting sick," today's medications allows us the freedon to live close to normal lifes, don't get caught up in the fear.

Good luck and take care!



Katrina's picture

I agree with Vickie. My HIV doc is my primary and she sends me to specialists within the same health system when necessary. They are all in constant communication and all the specialists refer to my HIV doc for final say on most things. I feel very secure that my health is in good hands and I'm not slipping through any cracks.


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