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Time between Visits
Aug 29, 2008

I was diagnosed in April of 08 and when I had my inital counts my CD4 was at 580 and viral load at 6000. My doctor did not put me on meds and scheduled an appointment 3 months later. After 3 months we tested again, this time my CD4 was at 720 and my viral load at 485, again I was not put on meds and this time my appointment was set for 6 months away. My only symptoms are a bit of fatigue but nothing serious. My only concern is many of my friends have been immediately put on meds right after diagnosis and I am concerned about the time between visits. Is this unusual or does this sound correct? I like my doctor he seems knowledgable but I do not have much background on him either. Is there a site to look up his experience? Thanks in advance for your advice.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

I typically recommend that patients get routine clinical and lab follow up every 3-4 months. There are certainly cases, especially among those who are asymptomatic where increasing the interval to 6 months isn't imprudent -- this of course, is with the agreement of the patient. Your CD4 count is well above current thresholds to start treatment (with CD4s below 350 in asymptomatic patients), so I'm in general agreement with this aspect.

If your uncomfortable waiting 6 months between visits, I'd discuss this with your doctor.

As for measuring experience, I'd discuss with him how long he's been involved with HIV care; does he go to national or international conferences? Is he board certified in infectious diseases or the American Academy of HIV Medicine? You might also contact your local AIDS service organization for external feedback on him and his practice.

Best of health to you and write us back anytime.

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