Recently diagnosed with HIV? Ask your doctor these questions
If you were recently diagnosed with HIV, there’s no time like the present to start a list of questions to ask your doctor. Here are just a few to begin the conversation:
What is your experience treating people with HIV or AIDS?
To learn more about your doctor’s experience, ask these questions: How many patients with HIV have you seen in the past? What is your approach to treatment and care? Do you work with specialists if I should need one?
What is our shared treatment goal?
Thanks to advancements in HIV medications, most people living with HIV today can achieve an undetectable viral load (also known as viral suppression). When a person is undetectable, the level of the virus in the body becomes so low, blood tests can’t detect it. Talk to your doctor about viral suppression and other desired goals for your treatment.
How will you determine which medications I should take and how they are working?
There are many ways your doctor can determine which medications are right for you. For example, a drug resistance test can determine if you have a form of HIV that does not respond to particular medications.
Talk to your doctor about how often you need to have your viral load and T-cell counts tested to be sure that your viral load gets to and remains undetectable and your immune system stays strong. If something doesn’t seem right, you may need to switch to new medications or add more to keep you in optimal health.
How do I protect my partners from getting HIV?
One of the best ways to keep you and your partners healthy—and maintain an undetectable viral load—is to take HIV medications. Other protection methods include using condoms and making sure your partners are taking PrEP. Ask your doctor for advice about how to keep your partners from getting HIV.
HIV isn’t the only STD you should be thinking about. It’s also a good idea to get tested every three to six months for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and other sexually transmitted diseases.
How will having HIV impact my overall health?
Tell your doctor about your daily habits. Do you work out often? Do you smoke? Do you drink regularly? Your doctor can recommend big and small changes to help you live healthier. Your doctor may also recommend vaccinations—including Hep A, Hep B, and HPV (as well as others like meningitis and flu)— to keep you in good health.