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Author Topic: sub-par ASO clinic  (Read 3306 times)

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Offline SouthSam7

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  • Posts: 428
sub-par ASO clinic
« on: January 09, 2007, 02:04:10 AM »
The staff at my ASO are idiots.  My cholesterol is way up since a year ago when I started meds.  My VL is undetectable and my cd4 cells are creeping up, so I'm not immediately concerned with those numbers. 

However, I went in last month to get blood drawn for all my numbers INCLUDING cholesterol.  Cholesterol is the main one I was curious about since I've been trying on my own to lower it.  I called them back several times and long story short, they "forgot" to draw for cholesterol.

I think they lost it or something like that but they won't admit it.  They drew at least 5 tubes of blood so I have a hard time believing they didn't draw one for cholesterol

Now I have to go back Thursday just for cholesterol, and I live an hour away from the clinic.  Also, they forgot to give me my flu shot this year and I got the flu in December.  If I complain, they subtly threaten to take away my ADAP eligibility and I'll have no meds. 

They are very judgemental and I suspect homophobic.  There are no employees that are gay or male or that have hiv.  The staff have always talked down to me like "you deserve what you get". 

Anyone else have similar experiences?  I can't believe all ASOs are like mine.

The clinic is Montgomery AIDS Outreach in Dothan, Alabama.

Peace and Love,

Offline SouthSam7

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Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2007, 03:03:56 AM »
I hope someone will reply to this posting - your opinion is valuable to me. Thanks! Sam

Offline DanielMark

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Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2007, 06:16:09 AM »
Anyone else have similar experiences?  I can't believe all ASOs are like mine.

Eeghads Sam! What a dreadful situation. Fortunately I live in Canada where all my medical coverage and meds are paid for through our healthcare system. No room for power trips or game playing there. My HIV/AIDS clinic is more than informed and has plenty of Gay patients. I've never had a single bad episode with any of my doctors, for that matter.

This may be a dumb question, but is there no other ASO in your area you could go to, even if it meant travel?




Offline mrtallguy

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Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2007, 06:38:14 AM »
Hey Sam.....
I'm in Detroit so not much help but I started out here with the doc that many guys see but did not like the half hour drive so went to the local hospital ID doc.   The initial visit was very good but the next one was horrible...sat in a room for an hour waiting for the doc while nurses would walk by...stopping at the nurse station wispering "who is that in there?"   So I decided that a half hour drive is no big deal if I can get good respectful care.  In your case it may require an hour and a half drive!  How far away is Montgomery?   You also might try creating a profile at gay.com or manhunt.net and doing a search for HIV+ guys in your area....send each one an email explaining your situation....perhaps someone will respond with another doc that is in the area and who will work for you.  Just a thought!   If nothing else you might make a new local friend!

Good Luck.....and Be Well!


Offline poet

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  • Poet living and working in Central Maine
Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2007, 07:10:55 AM »
Hey Sam.  I can appreciate your problem.  I left NYC in 2003 where I could fall over the number of options for hiv gay male patients, but this doesn't mean that I stayed with any one of them.  St. Vincent's in the West Village had a clinic.  The computer was down, so no results could be pulled.  Did anyone think to let patients waiting know this?  Of course not.  The schedule continued.  Each doctor was the person telling his or her patients the news. :(  There was the private office at which the person at the desk who handled labs didn't notice a very important finding on mine, a finding which I found out about when a letter from the city Department of Health arrived with the diagnosis for what was wrong with me: parasites. 

I am paying the price, currently, for living on Cape Cod.  The clinic I used in P-town alloted 15 minutes per patient per visit which might have worked but each time the patient ahead of me arrived late, it reduced my alloted time by that much.  The practice in Hyannis seems totally competent with lab work to date, but no one sees the actual doctor behind it, like the wizard of OZ.  I tried an internal medicine practice connected to the same hospital and so, one would assume, understanding the practice of internal medicine and experienced my first and (I hope) only fully dressed physical: like taking a car to a mechanic who uses his computer to do all the work on your car.

So I, too, am more than open to any Boston area readers here who might have suggestions.  I know nothing about how one Boston hospital compares to another, which is why I sound so dumb about this.  That, Sam, would move me from being within walking distance to having to drive or use the bus 1 1/2 hours or longer.  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline skeebo1969

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Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2007, 07:45:17 AM »


      I use to go to an ASO in Miami and had a doctor who I considered a Goddess.  She will be on my Christmas card list for life!!   I have been going to my current clinic in this small town now for a little over two months... they are full of it!!

     They service the community for a variety of needs outsdie of HIV such as prenatal, colds, flu, etc.. etc..  Yesterday I got to have my labs drawn while another patient who I doubt (just my feeling) was HIV positive..  When finished she made the comment, " Wow you sure have to give a lot of blood!" Needless to say I filed a complaint with the director of the health clinic on the way out.
     I also found out a portion of the head nurses salary is paid by Ryan White Title II... my question is why in the hell is she seeing regular patients then..

    Yes I have been screwed or lied to or treated like I did not know anything..  The place just sucks all the way around.   Being in Atlanta I am sure you have other ASO's available to you in your area.  Have you looked into switching.   The problems you are having would call for it that's for sure.   With me it is not an option.

I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2007, 08:14:15 AM »
Hi Sam,

The first clinic I went to was a lot like the one you describe - I changed clinics. I now have to fly to the one I go to (I live on an island) and even though a clinic day is now an all day affair, I know I'm getting the best care possible. It's well worth the inconvenience and I would never consider going back to the first place. 

You didn't "deserve" to end up with hiv (none of us...), but you DO deserve the best care possible. Don't be afraid to look into switching to a more user friendly clinic.

Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  

"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Bartro

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  • Posts: 124
Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2007, 10:18:39 AM »
The ASO I go to here in Wisconsin has no clinic but for a nurse that does anonymous testing and administers hepatitis vaccines and such.  They are located in a non-descript building within walking distance of my home.  Clients go to private physicians and the ASO, along with the state, arrange insurance and or payments to the private physicians and pharmacies.  There is a dental clinic at one of their offices but it's about a two hour drive from here.  They are currently remodelling and putting a dental clinic here.  They have a free lawyer on staff to assist with drawing up power of attorney, last will and testament and other legal concerns.  The case managers will get very involved with your case if you want them to.  They will accompany you to your doctor appointments and assist with ADAP funding applications if you like.  Most of the people that work there are gay and all are friendly.  They have a food pantry run by volunteers that serves over 800 clients.  The case managers deliver the food where needed.  They organize support groups regularly.  It's up to the clients how involved the ASO is in their lives. 

I can't describe how much they have helped me.  The day I found out I had HIV I was sitting in front of a case manager.  The next day I was at the HIV specialist's office with my case manager and ADAP funding approved.  I started meds that same day with no funding issues. 

Last month I received a pile of paperwork from the state to requalify for the ADAP program for 2007.  My case manager must have known they were coming.  He called and set up an appointment with me to assist me in filling out the forms and sending them in.  Two days later I got a letter from the state saying I qualified for ADAP for another year.

I can't think of any way they could improve the service they provide.  I occasionaly receive surveys asking me to rate their services.  A+++


Offline alisenjafi

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  • They say HIV comes from monkeys!
Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2007, 04:46:34 PM »
Even with the best of help you learn that you need to be way on top of things. Can you find another place to go, or at least make a complaint.
As for cholesterol, I would suggest you talk to soemone if you can about omega -3.  My doc was woried about mine but I talked with a nutritionist and she suggested I try this and it worked.
You can check this out in the nutrition posts on Omega 3
If you live in the USA you can skip the combos and just do omega 3 as from my understanding our diet has too much omega 6
and for reading:

I know this doesn't help with your original problem ,but info is empowerment

If I complain, they subtly threaten to take away my ADAP eligibility and I'll have no meds. 
I don't think they can do that-Maybe you need to be str8 up with them ask them what the problem is and if they threaten you then I would take it to the next step.
Good luck
« Last Edit: January 09, 2007, 04:51:30 PM by alisenjafi »
"You shut your mouth
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does"
The Smiths

Offline Longislander

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  • Posts: 2,489
Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2007, 05:15:57 PM »
Hey Sam, I know all about crappy treatment at an ASO-my first. I travelled 70 miles each way to go to Callen-Lorde in NYC, thinking I'd get better care. I won't go into it, but imagine my second labs--NO CD4 results?!?!?! Guess they don't matter much, huh? ( btw, I paid the lab fully, because I had lost my insurance card and the ASO couldn't be bothered to do anything like contact my INS CO while I waited weeks upon weeks for the replacement card) I just found that bill, and am planning to call the lab because I paid for absolute CD4, so maybe they have the #. Callen-Lorde could never find my results on my visits, and I'd have to wait and/or reschedule so they could find them.
I now go to an awesome little place, so close to home. They treat me right, like a human being.

Please look into another ASO, the stress is NOT WORTH IT!!

infected 10/05 diagnosed 12-05
2/06   379/57000                    6/07 372/30500 25%   4/09 640/U/32% 
5/06   ?? /37000                     8/07 491/55000/24%    9/09 913/U/39%
8/06   349/9500 25%              11/07 515/68000/24     2/10 845/U/38%
9/06   507/16,000 30% !          2/08  516/116k/22%    7/10 906/80/39%
12/06 398/29000 26%             Start Atripla 3/08
3/07   402/80,000 29%            4/08  485/undet!/27
4/07   507/35,000 25%            7/08 625/UD/34%
                                                 11/08 684/U/36%

Offline dixieman

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Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2007, 05:41:07 PM »
Paul, Have you checked with MAO in Montgomery.... I travel to Bham to the 1917 Clinic at UAB... this clinic as with others has a few idiots but, in general the people in Bham are more informed and do their best for you... if you have any questions I'll be glad to help you with information... John

Offline dixieman

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Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2007, 05:46:35 PM »
Sam sorry for calling you Paul but, I read just aliitle faster than I could keep up with my extra office work... John

Offline koi1

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Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2007, 07:50:51 PM »
You know, just because they are doctors doesn't mean they know what the fuck they are doin'. My gastro interologist told me my cd4 count was normal 8 months ago (before I got diagnosed). Turns out he never ordered the test but decided to lie to cover it up. He Cost me 30 pounds of muscle loss. The stupid idiot.

diagnosed on 11/20/06 viral load 23,000  cd4 97    8%
01/04/07 six weeks after diagnosis vl 53,000 cd4 cd4 70    6%
Began sustiva truvada 01/04/07
newest labs  drawn on 01/15/07  vl 1,100    cd4 119    7%
Drawn 02/10/07
cd4=160 viral load= 131 percentage= 8%
New labs 3/10/07 (two months on sustiva truvada
cd4 count 292  percentage 14 viral load undetectable

Offline SouthSam7

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  • Posts: 428
Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2007, 10:47:15 PM »
Thanks for all your help everyone! I went to sleep and when I woke up all of you had given me some great advice and insight.  Just knowing I'm not the only one this happens to helps me deal with the red tape. Thanks! Love, Sam
p.s. I pay out of pocket for all my labs and office charges which is easily $120 and up each time they stick me or I step on the scale. 

Offline lydgate

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  • Virgin, can't drive
Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2007, 11:09:08 PM »
My two cents: My only choice is my university's HIV clinic. The nurse-practitioner is nice but I seem to know more than her, which is not very reassuring. Of course I never see the doctor (I get the impression he's a lot more interested in his research studies than clinical work with patients). Oh, and they "forgot" to check for syphilis when doing an STD screen. Finally, waiting room etiquette is ghastly: they scream your name out and discuss results in front of others waiting.

I would really like to switch to a Chicago specialist, but it's four hours away and I just can't afford to pay out-of-pocket.  :(

So Sam, sadly, there are other clinics like the one you describe (as the other posters have eloquently said). Thank god for this site, the internet generally, and an unwillingnes to treat doctors like infallible Olympians.


Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline Eldon

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Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2007, 11:52:38 PM »
Talk to the Director of the ASO.

Offline pozinbama

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Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2007, 07:36:44 PM »
I had a not so good time when I went to get tested at the Montgomery AIDS Outreach office, here in Montgomery. Sorry to hear they are doing the same type of job all over the state. I went to get tested and they did an oral swab test, but they were out of the Rapidtests, so they had to send it out and told me to call in 3-5 days. When I started to call in to check if the results were in they were rude from the 1st attempt, talked down to me like "it could take up to fiiiive daaaays before they come back". After the 6th day, with no results, they told me to come take another one, they had Rapid ones in. I do not know whatever happened to that 1st test. They seemed to not care.

So I went in to take that the Orasure Rapidtest, in lieu of the missing test. If you've never taken one, if it shows up positive there is a red stripe that shows up on the test strip. On my test there was a faint pink line. It almost looked like a shadow. But the testing person made me look at the strip and agree there was a pink line, which I agreed. Then she told me it's probably nothing though, signed the paper Negative and told me to come back in 3 months. But I knew better. I went to the Orasure website, and sure enough they specifically say a faint pink line should be considered positive.

I ended up driving 2.5 hours away to Atlanta to get another test, and now see a Doc there. It ended up taking me almost a month from the time I first went to the MAO to finally get my positive test results. I wish I hadn't started out by going there. I have no experience with the clinic side of MAO, this is only my experience of getting tested.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2007, 07:54:34 PM by pozinbama »

Offline J.R.E.

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  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
Re: sub-par ASO clinic
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2007, 07:43:13 PM »

I thought Alabama , was one of the states , where more money was going to be allocated. What happened ?


Current Meds ; Viramune, Epzicom, 40mg of simvastatin, 25 mg of Hydrochlorothiazide.
Metoprolol tartrate 25mg






Diagnosed positive in 1985,.. In October of 2003, My t-cell count was 16, Viral load was over 500,000, Percentage at that time was 5%. I started on  HAART on October 24th, 2003.

 As of 9/16/16,  t-cells are at 501,   Viral load remains <40

Current % is at 12%

 65 years young.


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