The right doctor is one you can have a lasting relationship with. He or she should also be an expert in HIV and HIV treatment. If you have a doctor you like, great. If not, this section can help you find one.

Start a Relationship

Your doctor can be a partner. A guide to help you live your life with HIV. He or she should be someone you feel comfortable with. That way, the two of you can have an open and honest conversation.

Here are some ways your doctor should support you.

  • Provide clear answers to all of your questions
  • Help you understand HIV and all of the HIV treatment options
  • Talk about your family life and living situation
  • Know about your social life, your sex life, and if you smoke, drink, or use drugs
  • Discuss your work or school schedule, and how that impacts your treatment
  • Understand your emotional life and your need for support

If You Don't Have a Doctor

Start by finding HIV care services in your area.external link icon

When you meet your doctor, ask questions. Listen to how he or she responds. Your doctor should provide clear answers. It should feel easy for you to share personal information. When you feel comfortable, that's when you know that your doctor is the right one for you. If not, it is OK to find a doctor you do feel comfortable with.

Building a Support System

Your doctor is a key part of your support system. But others can help, too. These are people you feel comfortable talking to about living with HIV. Your support system can include any combination of the following:

  • Your case manager
  • Nurses and nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Pharmacists
  • The person you've listed as an emergency contact
  • Family and/or friends
  • Online chat groups or an HIV hotline

You might want to make a list of people on your support team. Your list can include names, phone numbers, and email addresses.

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