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Second Opinion?
Dec 4, 2004

I was diagnosed 3 weeks ago, and had previously tested negative around June 30, 2004. My cd4 count is 386 and viral load is 9,700. My doctor, who has a large HIV practice, has elected not to begin treatment. Should I get a second opinion? Should I switch to a doctor who is a recognized HIV specialist?

Response from Dr. Pierone

Based on your initial numbers the treatment guidelines would recommend deferring therapy. You mentioned that your current doctor has a large HIV practice; this usually does not happen by accident and suggests that he or she is recognized (at least his/her large clientele) as an HIV specialist. Some of the best HIV doctors that I know were not formally trained in Infectious Disease, but gravitated to HIV medicine because of a strong desire to help people living with this disease.

But since you are asking about a second opinion or switching care, there must be something that you are concerned about with your doctor. If this is true, then you should get a second opinion. Sometimes things simply click better with another provider. The only way to know for sure is to visit another doctor and see. Many people living with HIV infection put up with a mediocre doctor far too long. Within about 30 seconds after seeing another doctor (or PA or NP) they realize that they should have made a change years ago.



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