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Oct 30, 2001

Dr. Feinberg,

I am writing you because your profile indicates you did some studies in Chicago and may have better advice for me. My partner is HIV+ and we just don't think his doctor is adequate. He claims to have a large HIV+ patient list but he has not done follow-up testing (Viral load, CD4) on a 1-3 month basis unless my partner states he wants to and schedules it (he finally did his second 6 months later after the first), and his doctor doesn't even want to explain his blood counts and what they indicate unless we ask--is that normal? He also stated he would not start treatment until his CD4 is between 200-250 (last reading was 700 CD4 and VL in the 40K range). Should waiting until the CD4 is so low be a good idea---from what I read it is NOT a good idea--I don't want him to have AIDS before he gets treatment! I write you simply to ask where I should start looking for a new doctor? I have no clue who to call or what to ask. I have not even been able to find an AIDS organization in Chicago who can give a reference. We have good insurance and most hospitals are covered. I need some help and thought since you have some background in Chicago you may have some advice for me or a phone number. Please help, I am a nervous wreck all the time fearing something may be over-looked or passed over with his current physician. Thank you!

Response from Dr. Feinberg

I apologize for the delay in replying to you, but I needed to get some accurate information about Chicago. Although I went to medical school and did my internal medicine training there, that was all pre-HIV/AIDS, so I e-mailed an old friend who is the director of the HIV CORE Center at Cook County to get reliable information for you and your partner.

First of all, from what you've written I think that finding a more accessible physician would be a good idea, and would hopefully give you and your partner greater peace of mind about his care. Here are some resources: 1) AIDS Foundation of Chicago, which is the local case management organization, 2) Positively Aware, which is a patient advocacy group, and 3) the CORE Center at (312) 572-4500. The CORE Center provides public sector primary HIV care, and since your partner has health insurance, his choices are clearly not limited to the public sector. You can also ask to speak to the director (Dr. Sherer) and he can give you specific referrals.

Good luck, and please let me know how your search goes.


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