A recent diagnosis of HIV or AIDS can seem overwhelming. To make the most out of the time you spend with your doctor, get ready before you visit them.
Especially for the first time, that means knowing your medical history, including past illnesses and surgeries, and current medications. Write it down if you can’t remember every detail. Let your doctor know if anything has happened or changed since the last time you saw them.
You might feel rushed or forget to ask your doctor about things that have come up, so write down your concerns beforehand. Take notes at your appointment, too, so you can remind yourself of their answers and other important information later.
These are some things you might want to find out from your doctor at your first (or next) appointment:
- What does it mean to have HIV? Do I have AIDS?
- How much experience do you have treating people with HIV and AIDS?
- How can we tell if my immune system is working and how well it’s doing?
- How do you decide which drugs I should be taking?
- How well do the medications work, and what are the common and/or potential side effects?
- Do I have to take medication if I’m feeling OK?
- Are there things I should change about my day-to-day life?
- Can I still work out and be physically active with HIV or AIDS?
- What signs of trouble should I be watching for?
- What can I do to prevent the problems caused by HIV and opportunistic infections (other infections that people with AIDS can get very easily)? Will better nutrition help?
- How can I protect others from getting my HIV?
- Do I need to use a condom or other barrier method if my partner is HIV-positive?
- How often do I need to see you? When do you want me to call you, between appointments?
- Who can help me deal with my feelings?