(BlackDoctor.org) — Even if you don’t need treatment yet, you’ll still need to find a medical professional experienced in treating people with HIV. Regular checkups with an HIV health care provider are extremely important, even when you don’t feel sick.
You’ll need to find a health care provider (this could be a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant) with special training in HIV who has treated 20 or more people with HIV in the past two years. You’ll want someone who stays on top of the newest information about HIV medications, tests and other issues.
However, it’s just as important to choose someone you like, someone you feel you can trust and be open with. This means you’ll need to find someone you can be honest with about sensitive issues — everything from sex, drugs and alcohol use to missing doses of HIV meds.
Your health care provider is your partner in fighting the virus. She or he will be your ally for a long time, helping you deal with the ups and downs of HIV disease, the drugs that control the virus, the side effects that may come with the drugs, and many other health issues. You need to be completely open with your health care provider in order for that person to do his or her job — which is to help you stay healthy.
Every person living with HIV deserves the best care possible, regardless of ability to pay. The good news is, not only do you deserve the best care, you can get it.