Tested Positive...what to expect
Mar 17, 2002
Dr Pavia, thanks for your recent reply. You have indeed injected some optimism into us/HIV+ers. I will be performing my blood work soon and do not know what to expect on the 1st appointment. What should I be looking out for? What areas must I ensure that the specialist look into? Beside this, what other check up must I be performing on a routine basis and how routine must it be. Once again, thanks for yur kind assistance.
Response from Dr. Pavia
A good question, that many people may find useful.
On an initial visit, your provider will take a complete medical history, including things that are particularly important in the context of HIV: Where you have lived, what kind of work you have done, your living situation, a complete sexual history including current partners, previous infections, knowledge about protecting yourself, drug and alcohol history, mental health problems, and vaccinations.
On each visit, you will usually have a viral load test and a CD4 count, along with some routine tests like a blood count and chemistries. Most recommend these tests somewhere between every 2 and 4 months. We usually go with every three months.
On the first visit, there are a number of other tests. These include blood tests for syphilis, hepatitis A, B, and C, and a test to see if you have ever been exposed to toxoplasmosis. Depending on your age and gender as well as recent risks, you may also need a pap smear or a prostate exam, and possibly tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
In some practices, the initial testing is divided up in a few visits, to squeak out a little more time with you if it is not otherwise possible to schedule longer visits (do to the mysteries of the insurance world). In others, the initial visit is involved an covers everything. Referrals to dentists, nutritionists, psychiatrists, eye doctors, dermatologists, gynecologists, rectal surgeons etc, depend on disease stage and if any special problems turn up.
Hope this helps.
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