Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Questions About Treatment & Side Effects

'We take your blood now; the doctor will see you in 3 weeks time'.

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Mmm, for ppl in the UK, I have a personal question here...  You know usually you would get a blood test & the doctor would have an appt with you 3  weeks after?  Is there a law or sth that says it is the only way?

My problem is that i HATE going to the GUM clinic from the bottom of my heart.  So much so i even considered of moving back to my hometown where everything takes place in a general clinic where i could feel @ ease.  Now, i get super-intense 7-10 days before & I could not sleep @ all the night before.  My mood goes so bad I could not eat...  Right @ the door my heart beats so fast i could feel it throbbing.  It has everything to do with the guilt.  This is the result of my doings but i drag my mum into all these; i deserve it but not her.  She never complained, which makes me feel worse (I am disabled so she has to take me; getting a nurse doesn't work as it is a 'family matter').  The way it is now, i feel nervous about it for about a mth.

How do i get a balance?  Must the doctor see me only when s/he gets the latest result; can't i do everything at once?  To be honest, i really don't care.  My life goes on anyhow; regardless of the blood test result.  Being reminded i am HIV +ve 4 times a year is just too much...  I could endure the physical pain (of th needle); it's the guilt bit i can't stand.


Yes, I understand this feeling.  But there is no point going to see the doc if s/he don't have your blood test results.

Some suggestions:

1. If you're not on treatment and yr CD4 is over 350  ask about going every 6 months.  Or just go every six months.  Or every 4 months.  My clinic does regular check-ups on a 4 month cycle except for people close to starting treatment. The 3 month check-up has no medical basis, it's just a historical rule of thumb.

2. Check if you can get results by phone or email.  Some clinics do this, esp. in London (a nurse or doctor rings and says if everything is okay, gives you the numbers you want to know, at least CD4 and viral load, has a chat etc - only suggests you see a doctor if something's up).

3. Find a clinic with a specialist HIV unit attached to the GUM like Bloomsbury Clinic at Mortimer Market, or Kobler at the Chelsea & Westminster.  You can choose where you go.  It's important to have a clinic you feel comfortable with.

4. Forgive yourself. Easier said than done perhaps, but the virus don't care what you did or what you think/feel about what you did.  Everyone makes what they consider to be mistakes.  Being HIV+ is inevitably a constant reminder of stuff, but the guilt is, IMHO, more dangerous to your well-being than the virus.

- matt

Hi Nick

Newt's tips are a real good start. Also maybe start to think about talking about your feelings to the doc and see what they can/do offer. You are certainly not alone with the feelings you have, and your doc should be able to work out something that is ok for both of you.

And if it is any comfort to you: I'm just biting my nails as I am due tomorrow.  :o

Few more ideas
Many clinics, esp ones in london, haev community outreach nurses, who can be v.useful people if assorted issues make getting to clinic on you own difficult. They can do bloods, & then coud  just go to clinic when you need to see a dr.
Failing that, district nurses - ask gp, hiv team, or social wrker for a referral. They can be a bit obtructive about whose budget etc, but tis theeir problem to sort out, & it can be done.

For clinic visits, if having mum in tow causes stress - dyou have a support worker of any description? This kind of thing is exatly their remit. Or, nother option, a “buddy”(awful word)  from non-statutory tht, perhaps.

Some clinics can offer appts in non-gum setting, ie main hospital depts - cos some folks just don’t feel comfrtable anwhere near sexual healthservices.

Talk to them about what your needs/worries are - client led care plans are the new black, after all….



As others have mentioned, there may be options available to reduce the number of times you need to go to the clinic.  However, avoiding the clinic seems (to me at least) like putting a bandage on a gun shot wound.  Perhaps the first stop should be to speak with a counselor or a therapist (psychotherapist) to help you come to terms with being HIV positive and learning to effectively deal with the anxieties of having to go to a clinic for treatment. 

I don't know if you are on meds or not, but at some point in the future it may be important for you to make more than the normal 3-4 trips (well twice that if you count the blood draws).  I'd hate for your treatment to suffer (even slightly), because of these anxieties.



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