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Doctors Rejecting Me As A Patient Because of HIV/AIDS Status
Jan 16, 2012


I was diagnosed with pjp pneumonia & AIDS 6 years ago... I almost died, but I beat'em both. I am on Atripla, and having good results - I have NEVER missed a dose since beginning my HAART treatment - my CD4 count is now 364 ( up from less than 50 when I began ), and my Viral Load is "undetectable" ( down from 260,000 when I began ). I've now been diagnosed with avascular necrosis in both hips, and urgently need a hip replacement on one of them. I go to a pain clinic, which has prescribed 30 mg. of Oxycodone IR and 800 mg. Ibuprofen per day for the intense pain... but I can't stay on this regimen forever. I am on Medicaid and the new Illinicare program in Illinois. Illinicare has caused me to have to find nearly a complete set of new doctors, because so many doctors will not accept it. VERY inconvenient, to say the least. I have been to two orthopedic surgeons who do accept Illinicare and they both have refused to take my case; one, because he used the excuse of not liking my CD4 numbers ( but clearly he did not want a patient who was HIV+ ) and the other plainly stated to me that he was at the end of his career and didn't want any "problems" - when I asked what kind of problems he meant, he said right out, "I don't want to get HIV." Now, I know this is NOT legal, and I wouldn't want a doctor who was prejudiced against me anyway... but how can I find the help I need without going through this discriminatory process over and over and over again? The surgery can't be put off indefinitely. I need some really good advice!

Response from Mr. Chambers

Medicaid in all states is difficult to deal with as the reimbursement level is so low, many doctors will not accept it.

You are correct that there is discrimination going on, definitely with the latter doctor and possibly the other as well. I don't blame you for not wanting to go under the knife with a doctor that doesn't want to operate. I recommend you go two directions at the same time:

First, contact Illinois Medicaid and explain your problem. They should be able to find an alternate surgeon. Their number is 1-800-843-6154.

Second, contact a local AIDS Service Organization and see if they can provide or refer you to legal assistance.

Good luck

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