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Finding the best HIV specialist in NE Florida
Jun 22, 2011

Hey Dr. Bob -

My boyfriend tested positive for HIV in March and was referred to an HIV specialist by our local health department. His initial visit and testing went well, and he was prescribed Atripla and told to come back in 4 months. I had been expecting that his first few follow-up visits would occur a little more frequently in order to monitor his reaction to the treatment, but I felt it wasn't my place to interfere with his medical care and I didn't say anything at the time as he seemed content with his situation.

Two months have now passed, and we have both become more acclimated to his positive status. We both speak freely about his condition, and I have begun to verbalize my concerns regarding my own health a little more openly (I tested negative last month). Additionally, we have begun to discuss how little effort he put into researching his treatment options, and he admitted that he was surprised by the length of time until his next appointment. He expressed interest in researching other specialists, and he also mentioned that he would appreciate my help if I was willing.

So here we are. Besides your opinion on the 4 month gap between the prescription and his next visit, I wondered if you had any suggestions regarding finding an HIV specialist in NE Florida. I've tried the AAHIVM and HIVMA links provided on this site - one provided no information for my area and the other had very limited information. I want an HIV specialist who is eager to find new patients and learn as much as they can about the disease. I want somebody knowledgeable about current studies and trials - not just so my boyfriend and I have access to emerging meds and prevention strategies, but also because I would think that our status as a serodivergent couple could be very useful to the HIV research community. I want a specialist who brings up the possible benefits of PrEP without us having to bring it up first. Are these ridiculous expectatons?

I know that I would have more resources if I were in South Florida, but NE Florida has a growing HIV population and I would think we should have better resources available. If you know of anybody in particular in my area or have any ideas regarding where I could find such information I would really appreciate it.

And thanks for all the advice and information you provide to all of us. You're an amazing (and patient) man!

Thanks, Chris

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello, Chris.

I would agree, a 4 month interval after starting antiretroviral therapy is way too long for a first follow-up visit. I don't have any personal friends practicing in NE Florida. Generally the American Academy of HIV Medicine and the HIV Medicine Association are two of the best sites to help in finding an HIV specialist physician. Other resources to consider trying would be your local health department, local AIDS service organizations and other HIVers you know in your area. I'll repost a link below that discusses issues associated with choosing an HIV care provider.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob

Choosing an HIV Care Provider



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