You and Your Doctor

Your relationship with your doctor is an important piece of your health. You are a team: you give them information about how you feel day to day, and they give care to keep you as healthy as possible. Find the best doctor for you and talk honestly.

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 comfort, knowledge, and confidence.

  • Are you comfortable talking 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, are they willing to learn?

If you get your general care at a drop in clinic, it can be tough to see the same doctor each time you go. Some clinics make appointments, so if you can make an appointment to see the doctor you like, that’s great.

If you’re not happy with your doctor, is it general discomfort? Does your doctor “get” HIV? If you know (or want to talk about) what might improve things, we can help in sorting it out.

Talking to your doctor

Talking to your doctor honestly is really important. Doctors can seem intimidating, but they don’t know everything. They need as much health information about you as possible so they can use their knowledge to help. Talk honestly about things that might affect your health, including what stresses you have, housing, food, or relationship concerns, and alcohol and drug use.

To make the most of your appointments:

  • Book a double appointment if you have more than two things to dicusss
  • 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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