10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor When You Are Newly Diagnosed
Last updated: January 2021
It can often be very difficult to know what to ask or even where to begin when you have questions for your doctor at your first appointment. Community members have expressed feeling easily overwhelmed and very nervous at their first appointment. The doctor should ask if you have questions or concerns, but it can be difficult to ask a question if you don’t even know what you should be asking. Often times you may feel confused about where to even start.
It's normal to feel overwhelemed
It can feel very difficult to put words to the thoughts that may be swirling around in your head, especially at that first appointment. Sometimes it can feel as if you don’t even know what you are confused about or what your concerns are until you leave the appointment and you no longer have your medical provider in front of you to ask questions to.
No one wants to leave an appointment feeling like they have a million questions and no answers. This can lead to feeling anxious and frustrated, maybe even scared. Combined with the social stigma surrounding a chronic condition like HIV/AIDS, it can start quite a downward spiral of feeling out of control.
10 questions to ask at a first appointment
We have compiled a list of some common questions that may be helpful to have on hand for your first few doctor’s appointments. It may seem like quite a few questions, but remember you do not have to ask all of them. They are simply a list of questions that can act as a guide for those first couple of appointments.
- What are my options for treatment and pro/cons of each?
- What will happen if I choose not to treat my condition at this time?
- Are there dietary or supplement changes you would suggest I make?
- What are the potential side effects of my treatment options?
- How are appointments, refills, questions, or concerns handled? What are the procedures for refills of medication in particular?
- How often can I expect to be seen by the doctor for my condition? Will I always see the same doctor?
- How do I access my test and lab results?
- Do I have to decide today on treatment or can I take a week and think it over?
- If I have a question or concern between appointments, who do I contact? Do I call the office, email, or send a message with MyChart (if available)?
- Question if seeing a specialist: If I become sick with a possible infection, should I contact you or my general practitioner?
Taking back control
Being newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS can be scary and it can be hard to know what to expect. Test results, medications, and side effects may take some time to understand. At first, it may feel like making an educated decision about your own health feels impossible. Knowing the right questions to ask is the first step to better plan and prepare for your journey with HIV.
What questions do you wish you had asked at those first appointments when you were newly diagnosed? Let us know in the comments!
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