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Working with Your Doctor

Special Issue: Positive? How Are You Feeling?

The best way to get quality healthcare is to work in partnership with your provider. And good communication is the key.

This can be challenging when doctors see many patients and keep to tight schedules. Still, no matter what kind of insurance you have (or don't have) and how little time you have to see a doctor, you have the right to quality care.

Lack of money should never prevent you from getting the healthcare you need and deserve! If you can't find what you need, ask for help as there may be resources and options you are unaware of.

Many women have several providers including their primary care doctors, prenatal specialists, gynecologists, therapists, dentists, etc. For each, there are things you should expect and offer. Much of the responsibility rests on you, but it gets easier as they become part of your healthcare routine.


Your Doctor
Should . . .
Should . . .
  • Know about HIV.
  • Respect and listen to you.
  • Talk in a way you understand.
  • Answer questions respectfully.
  • Describe all your options.
  • Explain benefits and risks of tests and medications.
  • Offer referrals.
  • Expect to be treated with respect.
  • Be willing to learn about HIV and helpful resources.
  • Listen actively and ask questions.
  • Prepare for appointments by writing down questions, in order of importance.
  • Write down answers.
  • Know your limits.
  • Keep your paperwork. (You may need it later!)
  • Keep a list of therapies you take and review them with your doctor at each visit.
  • Keep a record, for your files, of therapies you've taken before and why you stopped taking them. Highlight the names of meds you stopped because of allergic reactions.
  • Bring your tracking records (CD4+ cell count, viral load, weight, and menstrual cycle history) with you to your appointment and fill in new information.
  • Never give up!

Back to the Project Inform Positive? How Are You Feeling? contents page.

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This article was provided by Project Inform. It is a part of the publication WISE Words. Visit Project Inform's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.