We have to take responsibility in advocating for our own healthcare, for adhering to our HIV treatment protocols, and in making healthy lifestyle choices if we are going to not merely survive HIV/AIDS, but thrive as healthy, happy and productive people. Your relationship with your doctor, including how well you talk with each other and communicate with his/her staff and other healthcare professionals affects your care and your health. A good relationship where you and your doctor share information and work together to make the best decisions about your health will result in the best care. You'll also feel more confident in your doctor and the quality of care you're getting.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself in evaluating the quality of the health care you receive:
Do I have a good relationship with my doctor?
Does the clinic’s staff make me feel welcome?
Is there a short waiting time to be seen by my doctor?
Is the clinic or facility easy to get to?
How many different services are provided at my doctor’s location?
Does my doctor communicate well with me and answer my questions?
Do I get regular CD4 counts and viral load tests (4x a year) and regular drug resistance testing?
Are HIV-related medications available to me and their side effects thoroughly explained?
Have I been screened for Hepatitis C?
If a woman, are regular pelvic exams available and given?
Does my doctor’s clinic staff help involve me in making decisions about my health care?
Have I been offered help in solving problems I have with adherence with HIV-related medications?
If you answered “NO” to any of these questions these issues need to be taken up with your health care providers if you are to truly make sure that your HIV care is the best it can be.