UNDERSTAND THE TERMINOLOGY
Like any other medical condition, there’s some terminology you’ll need to get your head round – your clinic appointments will make far more sense when you do and you’ll have a much clearer picture of your HIV health. George House Trust Services Advisers can help you with this.
REMEMBER THAT CLINIC STAFF HAVE YOUR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART
Your HIV doctor and the specialist nurses want the best for you. Make an effort to build a trusting and honest relationship with them. The more at ease you feel with your doctor or specialist nurse, the easier it will be to engage with your clinical care.
YOUR APPOINTMENT TIME IS YOUR TIME
This is your time to talk about what’s worrying you and to ask for clarification about anything you don’t understand. Your appointment should be a two way discussion between you and the health professional. You should leave feeling that your questions have been answered and you understand the answers you’ve been given.
BE INTERESTED IN YOUR HIV HEALTH
Go along to your clinic appointments showing an interest in your HIV health. Your results, for example, will enable you to see how well your medication is working, and you’ll have regular general health checks which will pick up on any other issues.
WRITE DOWN THE QUESTIONS YOU WANT TO ASK BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT
It's easy to forget some of the things you might want to ask. Write down a list of the things you want to talk about and take it with you – and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember that your appointment time is limited so focus on the issues most important for you.
TAKE A FRIEND WITH YOU IF YOU NEED TO
Some people find clinic appointments daunting. If you need a bit of support, ask a friend to come along with you. You won’t have to worry about having to remember everything that’s been said - they can listen out for the things you might miss.
BE HONEST WITH YOUR ANSWERS
In order for your HIV doctor to have a full and accurate picture of how they can best help you, they need to have all the facts. It’s much better to give honest answers to the questions they ask – even though it might feel embarrassing. Clinic staff won’t judge you – they’ve heard it all before!
YOU CAN TRANSFER YOUR CARE IF YOU WANT TO
You may have reasons for wanting to transfer your care to a different clinic. Think carefully about your reasons before making the decision. If you feel there are issues with the staff involved in your care try to work through these with them first. If you decide you want to, changing clinics is easy, and all you need to do is contact the one that you would like to attend and arrange an appointment.