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You and Your Doctor

Your relationship with your doctor is an important piece of your health. You are a team: you tell the doctor about how you feel day to day, and the doctor provides information to keep you as healthy as possible. Finding the best doctor for you and communicating honestly with that doctor are essential.

Finding the best doctor

You’ll typically see a general practitioner (GP) for basic health care and an HIV specialist for HIV specific care, including HIV treatment, monitoring your CD4 counts and viral load.

Your relationship with your doctor will be a long one, so go for the best fit: comfort, knowledge, and confidence.

  • Are you comfortable with your doctor?
  • Are you confident you can work together?
  • In the case of a GP, does your doctor have women with HIV in his or her practice?
  • If HIV is new to your doctor, is he or she willing to learn?

If you’re not happy with your doctor, can you improve or strengthen confidence and communication? We can help if you would like support in figuring it out.

If you get your general care at a drop in clinic, it can be tough to have a consistent relationship with one doctor. Some clinics do make appointments, so try to see the same doctor each time.

Talking to your doctor

Talking to your doctor honestly is important. Doctors can seem intimidating, but they don’t know everything. They need complete information from you to use their knowledge to help. Talk honestly about things that might affect your health, including stressors, lifestyle challenges, alcohol and drug use.

To make the most of your appointments:

  • Book a double appointment if you have more than two concerns to cover
  • Write out your questions beforehand
  • Bring a friend or support worker to the appointment for an extra set of ears
  • Ask the doctor to repeat anything you don’t understand
  • Ask the meaning of terms you don’t know
  • Take notes of what the doctor says and review them later
  • Take your time and ask questions
  • Don’t make major decisions on the spot if you’re not comfortable doing so
  • Book another appointment if you run out of time

If you need to talk with someone before or after your appointment, we’re here.

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