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Hip Replacement Surgery Due to Avascular Necrosis
Feb 17, 2006

My 48-year-old partner with AIDS -- he has an undetectable viral load, and T-cells at 520+ -- needs complete joint hip replacement surgery as a result of avascular necrosis. We are unable to find any surgeon in Colorado willing to do this surgery on him. (He has, incidentally, no other mitigating health problems.) The medical director of the local clinic -- and my partner's primary physician -- finally told him, "Let me just level with you, and if you tell anyone I told you this, I'll lie. You aren't going to find anyone within a hundred miles who will operate on anyone with AIDS. They'll smile and give you what sounds like a plausible excuse. But they plain and simply won't touch anyone with AIDS around here." Although we understand the needed surgery is not medically urgent, my partner's pain level -- and his increasing inability to walk -- make this operation necessary as soon as possible. What are our options? We don't even know how to find out where else in the country it's feasible for him to go for such surgery. Thanks so much for your time. Leigh in Pueblo

Response from Dr. Henry

I would contact one of the HIV docs in Denver at Rose Medical Center, Denver General, or the U of Colorado to see if they have a ortho specialist who is experienced with HIV+ patients. I would be quite surprised if they can't offer a referral suggestion. KH

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