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confused
Jul 23, 2009

My partner has been recently diagnosed with HIV and currently is seeing an HIV specialist. I feel that the care he has gotten has been somewhat poor. He has only been to see the dr twice since the diagnosis, and the last time he went to see him his blood was taken to test his CD4 count and Viral load. Unfortunately the dr has not called in more than a months time since the testing ( even though they said they would call in 10 days) My partner made the call to find out and found out that his CD4 count dropped from 760 to 542, and that his viral load count has decreased from 6964 to 2654. They told him that this is good?? from what i understand a lower CD4 count is not a good thing. I was tested many times over the last few months and am negative, but I am still affected by his diagnosis and i have wanted to speak to the Dr. myself about concerns with our sexual activity and the possibility of having a child. When I went to his last appointment the dr told me he did not have time for those questions. I also feel like the dr is not addressing my partners current health and how to keep him healthy longer instead he is brushing us off untill he gets really sick, because he has not discussed with him his options. My question is am I being hard on this doctor or is he really not providing the adaquate care? My partner doesnt seem to want to get too involved in his health also and thinks that the dr has more important patients to deal with than him. Also how often should these tests be done? because it seems that once every 4-6 months is not often enough? sorry for the long post but I am just wondering if we should seek another health care provider.

Response from Dr. McGowan

Thanks for your question.

When a person finds out they have HIV tehy will (and should) have many questions. Those questions may only come to mind after you receive some basic knowledge and as results of tests coime back. While CD4 and Viral Load counts can naturally fluctuate from test to test, these changes can cause great anxiety for a person if they are not explained carefully. Certainly a promise to call back should be respected. I am not making excuses for your partner's doctor, since we all get busy from time to time, but I would raise this matter with him/her. Also, your partner needs to get more involved and educate himself about his condition. If, after discussing your concerns you do not get an apppropriate response from the doctor, then a second opinion from an HIV expert may be the best approach. A good resource is the American Academy of HIV Medicine (www.aahivm.org, under the "find a provider" link). You are entering what should be a long-term and close relationship that you must be comfortable with.

Best, Joe



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