My Treatment Experience with Infectious Disease Doctors
As with every medical condition, not everybody’s HIV treatment experience is similar. Over the last serval years, I have had many different experiences regarding my HIV care. Some of the doctors I have encountered were unreliable, while some of them proved to be great. In my opinion, the doctor you use can make or break how you feel about your care.
My initial infectious disease (ID) doctor
When I found out about being HIV positive, I was in the hospital with pneumocystis pneumonia. Due to this, the hospital assigned an Infectious Disease (ID) doctor to me. This doctor monitored my care from the HIV aspect while I was in the hospital. He started doing all the bloodwork needed to gather the information on my specific HIV strain.
A convenient medical building
After I was released from the hospital, I continued to see him. I really liked the office he was a part of because there was a primary care office, an infusion clinic, and lab all in one building. It was nice to not have to go to a separate blood lab for the monthly bloodwork.
Hard to rely on
I ended up having a hard time relying on him as my ID doctor. He would take long trips out of the country and I would be left with no substitute doctor. Even though there were other ID doctors in his office, they had a rule about not seeing each other’s patients.
This was extremely bad for me because when I got out of the hospital my CD4 was 35. I ended up with another bad case of pneumonia (not PCP) because he was unavailable to assist in my care. Due to not being able to regularly have access to him, I decided to look elsewhere for care.
St. Hope’s Foundation is a healthcare group that is a nonprofit. They treat people with and without insurance. Since I was dealing with Social Security Disability, I decided to try their ID doctors. This specific organization is supposed to make medical care more affordable and accessible.
I took my sister with me to the appointment. Since she had done a lot of research after my diagnosis, I knew she would give the doctor a solid interview. I did like that there was a case manager available to help navigate my care.
I needed easily accessible care
Unfortunately, the doctor was more like a nurse practitioner. He was also only at the location one or two days a week. This concerned me because my case was still bad and I had already experienced several complications in my care. I wanted an experienced doctor to which I could have easy access.
My new ID doctor is dedicated to my HIV treatment
The ID doctor that I currently use has given me some faith in medical professionals again. This doctor had really good reviews on the doctor rating websites. I was hopeful that this would mean she was a good doctor, but I did not want to get my hopes up.
The first appointment as an interview
My first appointment was truly an interview for her. The nurse was very friendly and helped make me feel at ease. When I met the doctor, we discussed my case thoroughly. She was friendly and very attentive. The nurse was also able to pull all the lab work herself in the office. Additionally, the doctor had privileges at the local hospital. I decided to continue to see her. She has taken all my medical history into my current care.
She's always available to see me
Despite having her normal practice and her hospital rounds, I never have a problem getting in to see her on short notice. I can also see her for sick appointments for her to treat any respiratory infections due to some challenges with incompetent primary care physicians. She is dedicated enough that when you call after hours, you can leave a voicemail on her cell phone.
Confidence in my HIV care due to a great doctor
I have so much more confidence in my HIV care knowing that I have a great doctor just a phone call away. I never realized the effect that being confident in your doctor can have on an individual. I am grateful to have my doctor and her team.
How have your experience with Infectious Disease doctors been?
At what age were you diagnosed with HIV?