Your First HIV Medical Appointment

Before your first appointment, write down all of the questions you have about HIV (click here for some great suggestions). It's very important that you take an active role in your relationship with your provider. Be open and honest during every appointment. Make sure to ask all the questions you may have, and if you don’t understand an answer, let your provider know so they can explain things in a different way.

Your provider will need to know something about your life before you begin any medication therapy. Complete this form and bring it with you on your first visit. This information will help your provider choose medications that fits into your lifestyle and schedule.

Your first appointment may be longer than other medical visits you've had. Your provider will probably want to complete a full physical exam, screen for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and tuberculosis, and take draw blood samples to check your immune system and viral load (the amount of HIV in your bloodstream). He/she will also want to make sure all of your questions are answered.  

A follow up appointment will be scheduled for a few weeks later. During this visit, your provider will discuss the results of your lab tests, and will work with you develop a treatment plan. Most likely, your provider will want you to begin treatment and prescribe medications, even if you don’t have any symptoms. He/she may also want to begin to see you on a regular basis.

Be sure to talk about costs. If you’re on a budget and worried about how much your medications will cost, don’t be embarrassed. Share your concerns with your provider. There may be patient assistance programs you can access to cover the cost of your medications, or your provider may be able to prescribe lower-priced alternative medications.