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6 Tips for Choosing Your HIV Doctor

May 18, 2010

"Doctor doctor, give me the news I got a bad case of loving you ..."
-- Robert Palmer

I had to say goodbye to my doctor recently. I was moving out of state, and Dr. David Morris of Pride Medical Group in Atlanta had been nothing but a patient, supportive teacher to me. Over the years he's seen me through Hepatitis C, a few crystal meth drug relapses and three boyfriends. I love him and what he's done for me, and I hated the prospect of finding a replacement in Florida.

Fortunately, Dr. Morris agreed to give me some tips to make the process easier, and in this video episode you'll see me take his advice. From medical records to being honest about my history, you can watch me use his advice during my very first appointment with Dr. Dominic Riganotti in Ft. Lauderdale.

That's right. Dr. Riganotti allowed me to film our very first meeting, and I appreciate his willingness to educate others through this process. And here's the biggest lesson: don't be afraid to ask questions about anything you think is important (several suggestions are provided in the video). It is perfectly customary for potential patients to question the doctor's qualifications to treat them.

If there is anyone is our lives for whom nothing is "too much information," it's our doctor. As a patient I used to be more hesitant disclosing private issues like my sexual habits or drug abuse history, but I got over it when I realized my doctor wanted to help me, not put me in jail.

Episode 18: Six Tips for Choosing Your HIV Doctor

If you visit a doctor who doesn't like the questions or gives you attitude, you can thank the jerk for their time and go find someone else (or request another provider at your HMO or community health center). This relationship is too important not to feel completely confident in his or her abilities.

I hope this video is helpful to you or someone you know. Thanks for watching, and please be well.


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Adapted from:
My Fabulous Disease

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Bob (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) Tue., Jan. 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm EST
Sure, Dr. Riganotti let you film your first visit. He has been charged with a serious crime. Check it out....
go to then click the link....VERIFY A LICENSE....type in his name, and you will see 2 charges...
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Comment by: Enrique B. (fort lauderdale) Sun., Dec. 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm EST
Been a patient of Roman tree medical. They ha e a wonderful female Dr. But Dr is only good when it comes from getting your medication. On several occasions I have run out of my HIV medications and had to wait a week or more. So if you are taking HIS medications. Avoid Roman tree medical medical.
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Comment by: jm (Columbus, OH) Mon., Mar. 26, 2012 at 11:38 am EDT
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! That's great advice on choosing a doctor.
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Comment by: eric (atlanta, ga) Sat., May. 22, 2010 at 9:42 am EDT
Loved the segment, makes great sense even if I wasn't going to a new city, but finding a doctor in the same city. One other piece of advice, ask your friends for a recommendation. That is how I found my current doctor, whom I love !
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Comment by: blackandimproud (chicago,il) Sat., May. 22, 2010 at 3:51 am EDT
This is excellent excellent excellent advice. I just moved to Chicago and I'm looking for an HIV doctor. This will definitely help me. Thanks.
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Comment by: jim (boston) Thu., May. 20, 2010 at 7:24 pm EDT
One problem is that insurance won't pay for "meet and greet" appointments since they are not deemed as medically necessary. Interviewing new doctors can get quite expensive if you have to pay out of pocket for the appointment.
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Mark S. King (Baltimore) Sat., Aug. 15, 2015 at 3:31 pm EDT
You're right, Jim. I did as much research as I could beforehand, questioning the staff on the phone to figure out some basics about the practice and their level of HIV care. I was reasonably sure the new doc would be right for me once I got there, but asked all those questions of him anyway to be sure.

Comment by: Michael (Santa Monica) Thu., May. 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm EDT
Very good report on a very real and challenging problem, even in as big a city as Los Angeles. Thanks for the effort.
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Comment by: Phillip (Panama City, Fl) Thu., May. 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm EDT
Dr. William Bone in Panama City, Fl. and Dr Earl Eye in Jacksonville, Florida are both wonderful dotors for people with HIV!
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