Finding the right HIV doctor to manage your symptoms is an important decision to make. How you feel about your doctor’s capabilities and personality can impact the successfulness of your treatment and how openly you can discuss your symptoms. Below are tips to help you choose the doctor that best suits your HIV and your needs.
Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania is able to connect you with leading medical providers in the following Pennsylvania counties:
Finding a Qualified and Certified HIV Doctor
When researching possible HIV doctors, your focus should be on whether they are qualified and capable in treatments. Your doctor should be board certified in internal medicine and well-versed in infectious disease. A big plus is if they are an HIV specialist. In order for a doctor to specialize in HIV, they must:
- Complete at least 30 credits of HIV-related courses
- Be recognized by an external credentialing entity
- Have participated in a fellowship that’s HIV focused
- Continuously care for at least 20 HIV positive patients within the past two years
An HIV specialist will be up to date on the latest treatments and better understand which treatments make sense for you. Although an HIV specialist is ideal, your family medical provider may also treat your HIV.
Finding the Right Practice
Researching the doctor’s practice is just as important as the doctor you choose. When calling the office, you can ask questions such as: Do you accept my insurance? Do you take Medicaid? What is the average wait time for appointments?
Once you find a handful of HIV physicians that are credible and available to see you, it is time to check if your values align.
The Right Fit for You
Now that you have established that the doctor or doctors, you’re interested in are qualified and will accept you, it is time to start the interviewing process. An HIV physician should make you feel comfortable in disclosing personal information, so they can create a treatment plan that is right for your lifestyle. Building a relationship is key and interviewing doctors can help you select the one that you feel is most compatible with your values and personality. Some good questions to consider include:
- Do I prefer a female or male HIV doctor?
- Am I comfortable discussing my personal life with him or her?
- Is my HIV doctor open to the type of treatment I am?
- How does my HIV doctor communicate and relay information? Text, email, calls?
Additional Questions to Ask
- What services are offered at the clinic or practice?
- Will I be meeting directly with my doctor at each visit or an assistant?
- If I have an emergency, will I be able to come in immediately?
- Can I receive routine blood results at this location?
- Do related specialists work at this location or will I need to have a referral?
If you are uninsured or underinsured, you might be eligible to receive free help within central Pennsylvania from leading medical providers. Visit our page to learn more or contact Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania.