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Getting Ready to Start HIV Treatment

Part Three of Three in Project Inform's "What You Should Know About When to Start and What Meds to Use" Booklet

July 2011

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Is Your Doctor Experienced in Treating HIV?

You will need to find a doctor who's able and willing to treat HIV, ideally one who already has experience with HIV and whose style works for you. Depending on how and where you get health care, you may not have many choices.


Experienced HIV doctors, due to the number of patients they see, usually keep up with recent developments in treating HIV. They also have a better sense of preventive health care. If you can, it's also important to find other doctors like gynecologists, eye doctors and dentists who have HIV experience.

Doctors with less or no HIV experience may need to consult resources that can help them provide the best medical care for you. This will take time, but resources are available that can help you and your doctor make informed decisions.

The WarmLine (National HIV Telephone Consultation Service) is staffed by experienced doctors and provides expert clinical advice to other medical professionals. It's available Monday–Friday, 8am–8pm, Eastern Time. (See number below.)

Many areas of the country have regional AIDS Education Training Centers that provide education programs for health providers who treat people with HIV.

Important Questions

For Your Doctor

    • What regimen(s) do you recommend and why? Is one better than another?
    • What should be my next regimen if the first one doesn't work?
    • How many pills will I take? How often? With or without food?
    • What are the possible side effects of the drugs I would take?
    • What side effects are more likely to get better over time? Which ones are serious? Which ones should I tell you about ASAP?
    • When should I let you know if I think something is wrong?
    • What do you mean when you say I should adhere to my drug regimen?
    • What might happen if I miss a dose or two?

    For Others

    • When did you start treatment, and why?
    • What regimen did you take?
    • What problems did you encounter with that regimen?
    • If you had any side effects, what were they and how did you handle them?
    • How did starting treatment impact your life? Were you prepared enough?
    • Have you told anyone about your status and taking meds? How did that go?
    • How do you keep up with your regimen?
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This article was provided by Project Inform. Visit Project Inform's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
See Also
"What You Should Know About When to Start and What Meds to Use": Table of Contents
Part One: Understanding the Details of HIV Treatment
Part Two: Your Ability to Start and Maintain

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