Meet Tony Mills, M.D., an HIV-Positive HIV Specialist and Former International Dr. Leather
In 1999, Tony Mills opened his practice in Los Angeles specializing in HIV care. Mills says the trends in care today are probably 90 degrees opposite from what he saw then, and 180 degrees from 1985, when he began his first practice in San Francisco.
"Going to work, in that clinic in 1985, was so hard because everyone I diagnosed got sick, and I didn't have anything to offer anybody. I was just starting off my career in medicine, and I had gone into medicine because I wanted to help people," says Mills. "There I was, at the beginning of the whole HIV thing, and I thought 'God, I really need to do HIV work.' But then when I started doing it, it was so difficult, because I would look at these people who were my peers, and give them the diagnosis, and see them die within a year."
When he found out that he himself was positive in 1987, it was like looking at his own mortality every day, and psychologically he just couldn't do it, it became more than he could handle. So he went back and trained and practiced in anesthesiology for about 10 years. "And I loved doing it, but I always felt like I had failed, that I wasn't strong enough to be an HIV doctor, and that was really what I was supposed to do. In '99 I finally made the decision that this was what my life was supposed to be about and I wanted to give this a shot, and so I moved out to L.A. and opened a practice out here."
Mills is open about his own status with his patients, and has been since the mid-nineties. In 1998, he won the International Mr. Leather (IML) contest in Chicago. "When I did the IML stuff," says Mills, "for me that was really emotionally about the fact that I had just gotten on a triple drug combination in 1996. My virus had been suppressed to undetectable levels, and my T-cells, which had been at 35, began moving up from there. I started feeling better, and gaining weight, and exercising more, and thinking about going back to work, and I wanted to carry that message to other people -- that there was hope."
When asked if he feels being positive gives him any special insight, whether his patients can perhaps trust him more, Mills replies, "I think they do trust me more -- I have patients who come and see me from all over the world. I always tell them, 'Look, I have a lot of friends out there, that are really good HIV specialists in your city.' But they come to me for a variety of reasons. They come to me because they want to see a gay man, and they can't find a physician in their city who's gay and can understand them. Or they may come to me because I'm positive. Or they may come to me because of my experience in the leather community, and that's an aspect of their life that they think is important, or they don't feel comfortable talking to their doctor about it, and they need to be able to talk about their behaviors and the risks that are involved there, and what precautions they need to take.
"So all of those things that I had fear about in the past that might keep people from coming to see me are now the things that actually bring them to my office, and make them feel comfortable there, and make them feel like I understand, and they can really open up and talk to me about who they are."
Mills believes in order to provide the best possible care it's as important to understand his patients' psychological health as it is their physical health. And he firmly believes that providers need to be comfortable having frank and open dialogue with their clients about risk behaviors and recreational drug use. He says that sometimes it's easier for providers to not delve beneath the surface and talk about what's really going on with their patients.
"One of the most exciting groups that we have meeting in L.A. is the HIV-positive over 50 group. There's a waiting list because there are all these guys out there who find it's hard to connect with people, for whom disclosure is still an issue, and some of them have been on medications that have long-term side effects. And aging is compounding the lipodystrophy effects that we got from the medications, and it's a difficult situation to face."
While he sees a lot less lipodystrophy in his practice today, and doesn't even consider it a real problem, Mills admits that's probably because he lives in L.A., where they've been on the cutting edge of cosmetic treatments over the years. Southern California was also very early to jump on the bandwagon of getting people off of the offending agents, such as Zerit, and making changes in people's regimens. "When I travel to talk to people in locations in the middle of the country or in more rural areas, I'm always shocked when I walk into a room full of HIV-positive men in Kansas, and I see the ravages of lipodystrophy. But in L.A., and I think in New York and Chicago, and the big areas where physicians are more keyed into the issues, I think it's becoming less of an issue. I think the new drugs are definitely less toxic, we understand which ones tend to cause the lipodystrophy, and which ones are safer. I really believe when I start patients on a new regimen, certainly my naive patients, I can start them on a regimen that has a low incidence of side effects."
In New York City in the 1990's, Mills regularly attended a group for HIV-positive physicians who came together for support. Today, they all kind of know who each other are, but he's continually surprised by those who he may have known for years, who come in to see him and are HIV-positive. "It's really a burden, to have to carry that around by yourself for so long."
Says Mills, "When someone first tests positive, I give them a lot of information on the first visit. But I tell them I don't expect them to remember everything, except that this diagnosis tells me absolutely nothing about the duration of your life, or the quality of your life -- those things are totally in your hands, just as they were before your diagnosis. What it does tell me is that if you're conscientious, and take good care of yourself, you'll probably be seeing me more often, and we'll be monitoring your bloodwork, and taking care of your immune system, and there may be a time when you need medications.
"If you've gotta have HIV, it's a great time to have HIV," Mills explains to his patients. Because there are so many possibilities right now, says Mills, "I'm really extremely optimistic when I have to give somebody a diagnosis, I can really come to them with this conviction that this has absolutely no impact on how long they will live or what the quality of their life will be. I tell them, that's my job, is to make sure that HIV doesn't have any impact on either of those things for them."
Charles Farthing, former director of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, taught Mills something that he says has been really beneficial when talking to patients about their therapy.
"What he does with his new patients, when he's starting therapy, is tell them, 'We're going to start this therapy. And you may come to me and say, I want to change therapy, and I'm going to listen to you, and I'm going to consider that, and we may make some changes. I may come to you and say, I want to change therapies, and I'll have my reasons, and we can discuss that as well.' "
It establishes the relationship at the beginning of therapy, says Mills -- that this is an evolving science, and fortunately, it's evolving in the right direction.
Mills, who served on the national board of the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM) for about five years, stepped down about a year ago in order to devote more time to his practice and research. But he's still an active member and supporter of the organization. "It's really important that people with HIV be taken care of by HIV specialists. I've heard some horror stories of people who have been mismanaged, and the thing is, you can do some real damage to people with HIV. You can take somebody with wild-type virus, who is placed on an inferior regimen, and suddenly they have two- or three-class drug resistance, and now you're talking about Fuzeon.
"I think that credentialing is very important. Even if you're working in Boystown in Chicago, and only treating gay, white men, you still need to know about the differential effects of the drugs on racial groups or gender differences. The credentialing process emphasizes the fact that providers need to be taking care of a significant number of patients, and staying current -- there is a big emphasis on continuing education."
Mills sometimes lies in bed awake at night, thinking about what can be done to stem the tide of the epidemic.
"How can we really stop the spread of HIV?" asks Mills. "I give more HIV diagnoses now than I did 20 years ago. Maybe people have less fear of it, maybe they have safe sex fatigue, maybe they're longing for a more intimate connection with other people and they feel that having safe sex prevents that from happening. But how are we going to stop more and more people in our community from becoming positive?"
One of the ways, suggests Mills, is if the medications that we have now are truly better and better, and turn out to be, as we hope, less and less toxic, maybe we should put more people on medications. "We certainly know that the likelihood of transmitting HIV is less if people's viral loads are undetectable, and maybe putting more people on medications might be beneficial for stemming the spread of the epidemic, I don't know. But I just think that we really have to start looking within our community, because I'm really tired of giving HIV-positive diagnoses to highly intelligent men in their forties, who have been able to negotiate the path of safe sex for so many years, who have just given it up. I don't know how to convince them that it is something that's important -- it seems to have lost its weight."
Mills loves the clinical research and care that he is able to provide, and expects he'll still be practicing medicine 10 years from now, provided he himself remains healthy -- and there's no reason to think that he won't. And with the second- and third-generation drugs now available or in development -- some that may even only have to be taken once a week -- and looking at the synergy between these new agents, and how they can best be used together, Mills says that the next 10 years will continue to bring increased optimism and hope.
"I feel so fortunate," says Mills. "I get up every morning and I can't wait to go to work. I love my life, and I love my practice -- I can't see myself doing anything different."
E-mail Dr. Mills at email@example.com.
Comment by: Darrell Robinson
(Louisville, KY 40228)
Tue., Nov. 29, 2016 at 7:56 pm UTC
I met Tony years ago and had him come to Louisville for a presentation as part of my Louisville AIDS Resource Center and just wanted to touch base a ao know if he were still well and working
Comment by: Mike
Tue., Dec. 7, 2010 at 5:55 pm UTC
I Love this guy. I am lucky to have a great hiv doc here in Portland who is gay. If im in La I want to meet Dr Mills.
I also would want to talk to him re nutrition and hiv/aids.
Have a look at this and it is very informative.
I have found a lot of stregnth in this stuff.
Get in touch and I can fill you in on all the details and how to get some shipped to you
Comment by: Gregory A Reece
Wed., Feb. 17, 2010 at 11:43 pm UTC
You are a fantastic doctor and a great friend
Comment by: John Jackson
Fri., Feb. 12, 2010 at 6:56 am UTC
Hey, Maybe you should start marketing yourself as Dr. POZ?
Comment by: teapot
Fri., Jan. 29, 2010 at 11:12 am UTC
@henriemai: i strongly suggest you check out these questions about hiv risk behaviors in this article here: http://www.thebody.com/content/art39444.html -- and ask some of your own at the forum linked at the top of the page if you're not convinced!
Comment by: henriemai
Fri., Jan. 29, 2010 at 10:47 am UTC
please thanks for every work to make the world a better place to be.
allow me extend this question from time always trickling my head.
how far is it true that when you kiss a woman's vagina who is HIV positive t that you also get infected
Comment by: Darrell
Sat., Nov. 28, 2009 at 12:03 pm UTC
This is Darrell Robinson of the AIDS Resource Center in Louisville, KY. I had the Abbott Labs. bring you to Louisville April 27, 2003 for a presentation on Sex Drugs & Hardbodies. I have thought about you and your presentation often since that time. Unfortunately the budget closed my Resource Center and I just wanted to say Thank You after all these years and even though as a HIV+ individual going on 20 years to this day I tell all I know about you, especially the newly diagnosed about you and your life's work and living. I have referred many many people to your web site to learn about what HIV is/can be all about. I hope you are doing well and just remember one thing. One night in Louisville, KY you touched the hearts of so many HIV+ and HIV- people you will never know. The way you help change the idea of HIV has been an enlightnement to any one that knows or reads your story and learns from your experiences.
Comment by: HenryAgueros
(Los Angeles, California)
Wed., Sep. 9, 2009 at 3:32 pm UTC
Hi Dr. Mills.
Your is a great chapter in this battle against HIV and AIDS. Because of my work with POSITIVE HEALTHCARE with The AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION, I am well aware of your work and dedication. Thank you for all that you do. We are proud to have some of your patients as part of our Medi-cal POSITIVE HEALTHCARE program and Medicare POSITIVE HEALTHCARE PARTNER Plan.
In one of your lectures you spoke of your dogs..I hope that they as well as yourself are doing well. Regards to all your great staff.
Comment by: Howard
(Los Angeles )
Mon., Apr. 27, 2009 at 7:27 pm UTC
I am very lucky to have Tony as my doctor and as a friend. Though I am not HIV positive, he has seen me through lots of issues. He is truly a GREAT Man. I do feel I can tell him anything. I have known for a long time. How lucky I am to have him. I wish everyone had a doctor like Tony!
Comment by: Ed Greenberg
Tue., Apr. 14, 2009 at 11:16 am UTC
I am not HIV positive, but I work in the office next door to Dr. Mills. I've been seeing Peter Anderson, NP for my general health issues. Great place to go, though now that I read this article, I'm afraid I'm wasting time that they could be using for somebody who really needs them :)
Comment by: Mark
Wed., Feb. 11, 2009 at 2:59 pm UTC
Dr. Mills has been my phisician since 2006. He always makes me feel better and is very personable. His P.A. Peter Anderson is who I normally see, but I would like to remain at this clinic as they always are concerned about your well being and are very outgoing and are truly concerned about your health. My T-cells are around 230 & my viral load is undetectable. The best they've been since I was diagnosed in 1991.
Comment by: Lee
Tue., Jan. 13, 2009 at 4:53 pm UTC
Hey Dr Mills, I have heard you speak a few times here in Seattle, And in this article you spoke about different degrees of facial wasting from city to city, I was looking to get some work done on my face for my facial wasting and general aging, but am having a hard time here in Seattle, And I am not willing to let just anyone do the work, I want to look better afterwords and I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I am willing to get this work done in LA, any suggestions?
Comment by: Leo
Sat., Jan. 3, 2009 at 10:04 pm UTC
Thanks for your article. I am waiting for my diagnosis, (it may turn + as I have some of the initial symptoms) and that is freaking me out. I've been having nightmares and is difficult to go to sleep and to rest in general. Reading these stories let me relax for some minutes, to catch some breath and lower my hearbeat.
But it is just sad that some people can't access good professionals and quality therapy. It is also sad that the government doesn't step up for the research that needs to be done, and leaves all to the chemical industry who puts its effort but also makes the medication really pricy for some people.
Comment by: Paul
Wed., Oct. 8, 2008 at 11:49 am UTC
Hi. Great to read your article. I am an internist, too, who is HIV+ diagnosed this year, and I have just begun treating HIV patients. It is still my beginning and I am still building up confidence and hope for myself and my patients. Wish to keep in touch with you ...
Comment by: Eric Twombley
Mon., Jul. 7, 2008 at 10:49 pm UTC
Thankyou for such a refreshing, insightful and intelligent overview of the HIV condition. being poz for 22 yrs, solitary, and sex-crazed, it helps to hear that we are finally getting somewhere with this thing!!
Comment by: A AL YAZOURY
Wed., May. 7, 2008 at 10:35 am UTC
I AM REALLY TOUCHED , U R SO BRAVE , HOPE U WILL GET WELL SOON BROTHER , KEEP INSPIRING US WITH YOUR COURGE , GOD BLESS U DEAR BROTHER .
Comment by: ndu
Sat., May. 3, 2008 at 2:59 am UTC
I really have a comment than thanks for all of you who are adding hope to humanity with this EPIDEMIC. I look to time when kronosis Pharmacitical will come out with the MAGIC ARV. Thank once more Mills.
Comment by: Dave (Ohio)
Fri., May. 2, 2008 at 11:00 am UTC
Tony mentions one key to success that cannot be underestimated, no matter where you live: having a really good doctor. When I was diagnosed, I was very worried about being a gay, HIV+ man in rural Ohio. It's not exactly San Francisco or Chicago out here on the farm. My first experience with a doctor to treat HIV was a disaster, but with some Internet searching, I've found a terrific HIV specialist who is less than an hour away (and no, she's not nearly as hot as Tony). But an important fact is that, like Tony, she is a member of the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM). And she is both a friend and a doctor advocating for me. I'm now healthy, on meds that work and have minimal side effects, and I'm enjoying my life like never before. The most important measurement to me isn't my CD4 count, viral load, or lipid profile. It's the fact that I look forward to my next doctor appointment.
Comment by: Tshepi
Wed., Apr. 30, 2008 at 7:55 am UTC
Tony what an insipiring story.,my husband and I are HIV+,.We have been married for 23yrs have 2 beautiful teenage children who are HIV-. I got it from my husband who was cheating on me. I love him he was my first and last boy friend and I forgave him. We discovered we were + in May 2007 when he feel ill. We are from South africa. We have been on medication for 11mths. I m praying everything will go well for us and everyone in the whole world who is +.
Comment by: Patty
Tue., Apr. 29, 2008 at 3:08 pm UTC
Tony is an inspiration to all that have had the pleasure to know him. I met Tony at the Health Project in Gloucester and I think before that online at the body. He is as beautiful in person as in this article. Good luck Tony and I hope to see you again soon, keep up the great work.
Comment by: Connor
Tue., Apr. 29, 2008 at 1:12 pm UTC
ive had hiv since 75' and i know theres hope for us but you really gave us the boost we need to survive, i am 66 years old and i am hiv positive for 33 years
Comment by: oliver
Mon., Apr. 28, 2008 at 3:08 pm UTC
Good work doc mills .I am living in bamenda cameroon
and am very impressed with your work and your article.Keep it up doc.
Comment by: Roland
Sun., Apr. 27, 2008 at 10:54 am UTC
There is a cure for HIV AIDS It all about money
Comment by: Harry
Sat., Apr. 26, 2008 at 3:43 pm UTC
I myself am a long term surviver of this illness, i been infected since the middle 80"s and i am going strong, I managed to survive hurricane katrina and was sent packing to the midwest, talk about bad healthcare here, I must say I have finally found a good doctor out here and I have a wonderful partner who is also poz and is a trama nurse for 18 yrs and I must say Dr. Mills, you are one hot doc, keep up the good work, we all need people like you who care about what you are doing and about the community whom you serve, god bless sexy.
Harry from Goshen, Indiana
Comment by: Living my life
Fri., Apr. 25, 2008 at 2:12 pm UTC
Thank you for this inspiring article. I am newly diagnosed, and I do need this hope that is very real and true and out there in 2008.
Comment by: curtis
Fri., Apr. 25, 2008 at 10:09 am UTC
HI Tony Mills, M.D. this is curtis i m deaf / CP, i live from norman,oklahoma i m 46 yrs and i m had hiv 15 yrs NO SICK AND NO WORRY TALK ABOUT IT!! only meds myself sometime very tired go to bed and eat food keep heathing my body with meds and resting watching tv and clean up my house my dog play with me , WOW you are good look your face so cute wow! oh well i will talk with you latery smile nice meet to you ! bye sk i m deaf CP and hiv 15 yrs HAVE FUN HAVE A DAY SMILE BYE SK CURTIS
Comment by: Jim
Thu., Apr. 24, 2008 at 8:03 pm UTC
Tony is my doctor and I absolutely am so happy and lucky to have such a caring, intelligent and wonderful physician. Excellent article. Bravo!
Comment by: Jeffery R
Thu., Apr. 24, 2008 at 5:02 pm UTC
I want to thank you for being and inspiration. I am in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I get superior care here. I too consider myself lucky to have contracted HIV in an era when there are many options for treatment. I am on Atripla, my viral load is undetectable, my tcell count is 1028 and climbing.
Keep up the good work. We need good HIV docs. that care and understand.
Comment by: Dermot
Thu., Apr. 24, 2008 at 4:39 pm UTC
At last some positive news about being hiv positive, and from someone who knows exactly what he's talking about. We need to hear more from people who have a bright and optimistic outlook on living with hiv. There's never been a better time to be HIV - I love it. Thank you Tom, and God bless!
Comment by: NYC pitty party
Thu., Apr. 24, 2008 at 4:22 pm UTC
This is the kick in the ass I needed today, I have been having a small, intimate pity party and I totally lost sight that I am still alive and healthy.
I have so many things to be grateful for, but sometimes is easier to give in the I am so sorry for myself crap, so I am going to get out enjoy the weather, the blooming trees and birds singing and keep going cause it ain't over until it really is.
Comment by: Mike in San Diego
Thu., Apr. 24, 2008 at 3:46 pm UTC
Comment by: John Barron
Thu., Apr. 24, 2008 at 11:15 am UTC
What a great article. Totally reassuring and most of all, illustrates that life goes and with some support from our family, friends and docs, we can live a very fulfilled life and make it count for mre than we could have every imagined, before being diagnosed with HIV.....
Comment by: Charles
Thu., Apr. 24, 2008 at 10:01 am UTC
I would like to just say I wish I had you as my doctor here in south Texas for VAC Valley AIDS councel the doctor here sucks don't get to see him much I have been POz for 14yrs but lately have not been feeling good I acll the office to see if I can be seen and his excuse is not feeling good go to ER that's not right it's a noprofit clinic but the service has expanded through out the valley and even out of the valley area there is a clinic that has opened so what am I suppose to do if I don't work don't have any kind of income coming in I live with my partner of 16 yrs I want to help out with the expenses of the houseI have been waiting for over 3yrs to get SSI and still have no word on it I am getting to the point of depression and exhuasted so I am just asking form you is some advise what can I do now I would like to hear from you you can write to me to my e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Comment by: Hector
Thu., Apr. 24, 2008 at 8:57 am UTC
Hi Tony, I am VIH+, but I very Happy because I am in treatment from one year ago. I am From Colombia.I admire you very much.
Thanks by you exists.
(Sorry my englisht not is best).
Comment by: Mike Greb
Thu., Apr. 24, 2008 at 8:22 am UTC
Comment by: Eddy
Thu., Apr. 24, 2008 at 7:18 am UTC
Wow, I wish Dr. Mills were MY doctor!
Comment by: Dutch Guy
Thu., Apr. 24, 2008 at 4:54 am UTC
Dear Doctor Mills,
Before I was diagnosed I really didnt have any friends who were gay and/or who were positive. Gay guys ware a bit of exotica for me. They were in the entertainment business or artistic or magicians. Yeah I know... stupid prejudices from a narrow minded guy...
Now I know better... because of my diagnosis I met some gay guys and got befriended with a couple of them. It's not that I didn't want to be friends with them before, but as a straight guy I dont visit gay bars (or leather bars). And in my field of work it's - unfortunately - still not done to be open about it.
Having this pesky bug made me more compassionate to the rest of the world. Also took away my prejudices (which were really narrow minded).
Your story gives me hope and is really encouraging. In my opinion it is great to see a guy like you doing this. I never met a poz leather doc in Holland. But this openess is really good! From my perspective it doesn't only make you a doctor but also a peer, more human, more understanding.
Perhaps I'm rambling. But basically I wanna say: This what you are doing is really good! It gave me encouragement! Wow!
Warm greetings from the other side of the Atlantic!
Comment by: bearby
Thu., Apr. 24, 2008 at 3:43 am UTC
I know that my ID doc is one of the leading pros in the field of HIV/AIDS and has never faultered in her (or the nurse practioner as well) with my care, be it psychological or physical and it seems that you are doing much the same as she does in her practice.
But it helps me because I outed my self to my leather breathern at an awards brunch one year. That helped me immensely because it only widened my care team by those 200 or so men and women that were present.
Now that might not be the thing for everyone to do but after I was one of them and was congratulated by more than one of them for having the gumption to admit that I was poz all at one shot.(altho I figured it was better to inform them enmasse than to try and remember who I had told in confidence since many of them were also poz and they sure did not stand up and admit it but then who am I to out someone else for same thing that is becoming more prevalent by the day.
I decided that it was time to stop living in the shadows of fear and tell the world. Now that I am a volunteer of the local aso they at times refer their clients to me so that someone that they know has "been there done that" can give first hand knowledge from the heart.
Again I feel that I can not express enough how much the feeling of happiness that I have for a fellow leather man to admit to the world that "hey I have a disease, it does not have me".
Comment by: Steve
Thu., Apr. 24, 2008 at 2:16 am UTC
I am a patient of Dr. Mills, no, a fortunate patient of Dr. Mills. He is an absolute gem of a physician. To me, being able to speak frankly to a clinician is as important as the quality of care.
I was given my HIV diagnosis by Dr. Mills several years ago. Although I was devastated by the news, DR. Mills was personal and caring with his message to me, and immediately gave me hope that my life would not change as long as I stay on my medication and receive regular checkups. I am truly blessed to have him as a physician. He is one hell of a "positive" role model for other clinicians to emulate!
Comment by: SeekYah
Thu., Apr. 24, 2008 at 12:04 am UTC
May God continue to bless you as you have bless many others.
Comment by: Don
Wed., Apr. 23, 2008 at 11:08 pm UTC
Wow that dude is hot. I sure wish he had a practice in my city.
Comment by: Tim from Denver
Wed., Apr. 23, 2008 at 10:53 pm UTC
I wish I lived in LA so I could be a pt of Dr Mills.
I like my ID MD but shes a women that is gay tolerant. My insurance dictates a limited number of choices. None that I know are gay.
Sometimes I just want a professional shoulder to cry on and assure me my numbers are acceptable..
Dr Mills...Move to Denver!!!!!
Comment by: Michael Raught
Wed., Apr. 23, 2008 at 10:52 pm UTC
WOW...I wish I was fortunate enough to live in LA and have Tony Mills for my physician. I am recently diagnosed (Dec 2007) and just found out my Dr. is taking a year off. We just started building a relationship and now she is gone. Not sure where I go next.
Comment by: Howard
Wed., Apr. 23, 2008 at 9:54 pm UTC
We are lucky for role models like Dr. Mills
Comment by: Peter
Wed., Apr. 23, 2008 at 9:05 pm UTC
Like Dr. Mills I've turned my life around with a purpose and thankfully the meds today take much of my focus off of HIV and onto a value driven life. It still bothers me that people die daily in Africa becuase they cannot afford meds. I can't personally afford HIV meds but insurance pays for them. What will stop the spread of HIV amongst todays growing statistics. I doubt anything will. It takes committment to one anothers self dignity to look out for one another and practise safe sex. We can have many excuses why we don't practise safe sex but it all boils down to respect. We don't live in a culture that is abundant in that. It's all about pleasure and gratification. It's funny how once I've become HIV+ I now dance to the "respect" dance and have lost interest in the prevailing attitudes. But I am on purpose and have long term goals now thanks to HIV. Strange but true.
Comment by: Terry
Wed., Apr. 23, 2008 at 8:33 pm UTC
Love ya, Dr. Mills. It does make a difference when your doctor is as "human" as you are and realizes that, above skill level, above level of education, above years of experience, is the importance of an ability to build trusting relationships with your patients. Without that ability, the other qualities won't benefit the patient because they either won't stick around and/or they won't give you all of the information you need to do the best job for them. I'm MUCH more willing to discuss my sexual behavior with someone I know has been there before, will listen in a nonjudgemental way and start where I"M at in the process change, rather than push his/her own agenda. The only thing that would make you a more appealing doctor is if you decided to study proctology, as well.
Comment by: Elwood
Wed., Apr. 23, 2008 at 8:32 pm UTC
Wow, What an inspiring article. Thanks Dr. Mills. As a newly diagnosed 49 yr old female I try to educate myself on everything I can in regards to HIV medications. I've been on HIV meds for 4 months, my viral load is undetectable but my T-cells have continued to fall, I'm on my third week of adding Selzentry to my meds and have a difficult time with nausea, additionally my sleep pattern is changing. If I've learned anything with my diagnosis it is attitude is so much of this fight and I plan on fighting as long as I can. Thanks for being there, for being honest and a positive person. Live long & laugh often. Cheers!
Comment by: Sherri Lewis
Wed., Apr. 23, 2008 at 8:15 pm UTC
I was so happy to see Tony Mills story at The Body. He is an inspiration in leather and out of leather as a specialist in the HIV/AIDS field. I am proud to know him and am always impressed when I hear him speak. Thank you for sharing his story.
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