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Feb 25, 2003

I was recently diagnosed with HIV. My primary doctor is someone who currently treats HIV+/AIDS patients. I have a lot of confidence in him, but how do I know if he is a competent doctor in HIV/AIDS issues. I am doing my best to educate myself about the disease, but I would like to make sure that I am getting an adequate treatment.

How will I know (in the future) if he is competent to treat my illness? Any tips?

Thank you for your help.

Antonio Lopez

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your question.

It's difficult in these days to sort out whose competent or not at HIV care. There are limited mechanisms for certification in this specialty, at the moment, so a paper diploma won't help you decide.

It is clear that the number of patients under care is one way to assess for minimal experience, though some studies of this subject use only six patients as the breakpoint for experience or inexperience.

Perhaps a better way at the moment is to ask local AIDS service organizations for the good beta on who is good in your local region. Ongoing education and attendence at major meetings, like the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, or the World AIDS Conference are other metrics of expertise. Membership in the HIV Medicine Assn or the American Academy of HIV Medicine are markers of interest in keeping up on the fast changing field.

Hope this helps, BY

False positive

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