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How many doctors do I need?
May 21, 2006

I was diagnosed with HIV about two months ago and everything is all very new to me. I have a great HIV doctor, but is he now my primary care provider? Is it customary to go to a general practitioner when I have a sore throat or something or should I now go to my specialist for all my medical concerns?

Response from Dr. Pierone

This really depends on the preferences of you and your doctor. In our practice we handle the primary care needs of most of our patients with HIV infection. But our patients that live more than an hour away will usually have a generalist closer to home. Some of the health insurance plans also require a "gatekeeper" or generalist to coordinate care and approve treatments so this may be a consideration. Some ID or HIV specialists are only comfortable addressing HIV issues and will ask that routine health care and preventive issues be handled by a primary care doctor.

An observation that I have made is that primary care doctors who are not current on HIV are simply overwhelmed by the medications and potential interactions and end up deferring most decisions to the HIV specialist. So ask your doctor if he will be addressing your primary care needs as well. Best of luck!

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