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Author Topic: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?  (Read 4230 times)

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Offline RobbyR

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Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« on: March 06, 2013, 05:56:38 PM »
Here is an interesting and relevant question I'm wondering, as an openly gay poz guy, to what degree do many doctors have conscious and subconscious biases and negative prejudices about us? I am a pretty intuitive person, and am very fortunate to have strong, capable infectious disease doctors, but as anyone who is poz knows, sometimes unforseen health issues arise that require specialist care, or referrals.

Of course, when this occurs, the doctor looks at our sexual orientation and hiv status. When I had shingles, I went to the ER and was fortunate to have a very sweet, caring young doctor who listened to me and made me relaxed and didn't make me feel rushed or ill at ease about being openly gay or positive. In fact, in most cases, it's not an issue at all. I've been lucky in most cases.

However, a couple of times recently, I had to see a colorectal specialist, who I had not seen before, and he was a bit older, and it seemed to me he was a bit distant and brisk with me, like he was being overly scrutinizing or a bit stand-offish. He seemed competent, just a bit aloof and made me feel a bit like I was a burden. I just sort of got the vibe that he was thinking "it's your own fault your having these rectal issues, because your gay, and you took it up the ass". To put it bluntly lol.

Of course, I know some doctors just have a very distant aloof personality, but I feel like one shouldn't have to settle for that. Especially in the case of having to see a specialist for specialized care, in such a sensitive embarrassing area as rectal care, I feel like they should be much more sympathetic and understanding to gay men and for that matter hiv-positive people.

Just wondering, to what degree do you think there is bias among doctors today, particularly specialists, about gay, positive patients? Of course, if one needs some type of specialist care, as I did with rectal issues, it is ideal to seek out a gay-friendly, hiv-poz knowledgable doc. But it's not always possible to find these.

I guess all one can do is ask one's primary care doc if he/she knows any specialists who are gay-friendly if one needs that kind of care. I definately would suggest that.

I live in a very red state, albeit in a fairly blue city, but it is still a roll of the dice if specialist care is needed, in regards to finding a provider who is sensitive to gay/hiv related issues. Anyone else have some thoughts on this?
Started Atripla August, 2010.

Offline CLP1972

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2013, 06:52:43 PM »
Robby,

I am SO eager to address this issue...for many reasons.  You can check out a couple of my other posts on similar topics.  Being gay, poz, and a physician, I can tell you first hand, that this is a VERY real issue.  I have been looked down upon by other medical "professionals".  I can remember when I seroconverted and was in the hospital (feeling like death warmed over), my diagnosis came when an ID doc walked in at 0630, flipped on the top light, and said "well, we aren't totally sure what's going on, but I need to tell you that your ELISA came back positive"...and just that bluntly.  It should be noted that I went to a different hospital than where I practice.  He was fairly gruff with the delivery.  He didn't have to say anything further, he knew that I knew what he meant.  The feeling as if ice water had been poured into my IV, stayed with me the rest of the day.  He said that he had another doc a couple weeks prior who had a false-positive ELISA, so not to worry about it until the WB results were back later that same day (luckily, we have a quick turn-around).  That night, I overheard the nurses giving report and saying, "Yeah, that's the doctor that has HIV in there".  I felt as if I had been stripped of my humanity and was now just being referred to as my disease.  Not only that, their tone was as if they were saying "he of all people should know better, and he deserves what he gets".  That night opened my eyes to listening, really listening, to how my peers/colleagues referred to my new culture...my new brothers and sisters.  The next day the results of the WB were negative, but he said he wanted to draw a VL & CD4, "just to be sure".  I got the results 3 days later...VL >500k, CD4 256.  The next day the WB was repeated and came back positive.  I started meds 2 days after confirmation.  Anyway, since then, I've been really surprised at how some colleagues refer to patients with HIV, and it's not only hurtful, it's disturbing.  Your doc is the one person with whom you should feel comfort in sharing anything, without fear of judgment (same goes for the RN's, techs, etc).  Not always, but WAY too often, this is not the case.  Other than fear and lack of education (yes, most doc's aren't educated well on HIV), I can't explain their behavior.    As a poz doc, I feel like there are times when I have NO ONE to turn to for support.  HIV needs more "faces" representing our disease.  People that show everyone that it doesn't matter your race, religion, education level, etc...EVERYONE is susceptible to this disease.  And, although developing HIV wasn't my "perfect plan", I honestly think it has made me a better person.  As my Momma always tells me "Someone always has it worse than we do"...which is SO true!  The hard part for me is that each state is different about their regulations pertaining to poz docs...some states say that, regardless of my almost non-existent chances of exposure to a patient, that I have to advertise, in writing, my status, so that all potential patients know prior to seeing me.  And, studies have shown that if given a choice, only 30% of patients would opt to still see a doc that was poz...regardless of how good they are at what they do.  The thought of losing everything that I have spent the majority of my life training for, and the inability to repay the 200k that I owe in student loans, is very scary and concerning to me.  If I didn't have to worry about that, I would LOVE to be a face for our culture, to educate and fight the stigma.  In the meantime, until that day when the laws catch up to the reality of the disease, I have to be satisfied trying to educate other docs in a positive manner.  I want to be a doc that caters to a gay clientele and, more specifically, a poz clientele.  Our poz and gay community is a wonderful and warm group of people, with huge hearts, huge fears, huge concerns, and a huge amount of scrutiny.  PLEASE, if someone hears a medical professional talking in a derogatory tone about our culture, say something to them, or say something to their boss/partner.  Also, we need to fight the stigma of a lot of those in our gay community...the ones whom one would assume to be the most accepting of poz individuals.  We have a LOT of work, but I'm optimistic that it can be done.  Only when we stand and fight will we win.  And, together, we WILL win this fight!!  Thank you again, so much, for addressing this issue.  Take care!

Offline buginme2

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2013, 07:08:10 PM »
Maybe this is a regional thing.  I have always been treated with the utmost respect.  in fact I have noticed when I tell an unfamiliar doctor Im hiv positive I get.better care.

maybe it's because I'm treated at s large urban hospital in a very blue city /state. 

Offline Jeff G

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2013, 07:08:25 PM »
 I have lots of experience with doctors because simply because I have been poz so long .

I have come to the conclusion that having a competent doctor I can trust trumps personalaity . Don't get me wrong , feeling comfortable with your doctor is important also but I have found that as long as he hears what I have to say and gives me top notch care is what I look for more than other elements that could make for a cheery visit to see him or her .

One of the best doctors I ever had was an admitted cantankerous old blowhard who most people would avoid at all cost socially . He once offended me and I found a new doc for awhile . When I came back a little over a year later because of the sub par record of diagnosing my aliments by the new doc , he met me in the hall on the way to the exam room and muttered , OH its you again , I knew you would be back . He then kept me waiting for an hour ... but damn was he a good doctor .

Offline mecch

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 07:23:39 PM »
However, a couple of times recently, I had to see a colorectal specialist, who I had not seen before, and he was a bit older, and it seemed to me he was a bit distant and brisk with me, like he was being overly scrutinizing or a bit stand-offish. He seemed competent, just a bit aloof and made me feel a bit like I was a burden. I just sort of got the vibe that he was thinking "it's your own fault your having these rectal issues, because your gay, and you took it up the ass". To put it bluntly lol.

Of course, I know some doctors just have a very distant aloof personality, but I feel like one shouldn't have to settle for that. Especially in the case of having to see a specialist for specialized care, in such a sensitive embarrassing area as rectal care, I feel like they should be much more sympathetic and understanding to gay men and for that matter hiv-positive people.



It's not very nice if you feel that a professional person (doctor, here), who you go to for a service, is sitting in judgment of you.. 

But, on the other hand, we should avoid assuming or projecting prejudice and bias into people, because you expect it, or feel it, if in fact there has been no demonstration of it...  Right?

Its always nice to get a doc who is empathetic and sensitive...  But I'm not sure we can demand it. 

In the best of circumstances, we have insurance that permits us a choice.  Dump the jerks, and find the sensitive ones..   If choice of doctor is not an option, then its important to remember, the doc needs you as much as you need him, and if he(she) is a royal jerk, but manages decent health care, its really his own fucking loss and problem in life, and poor him...

Also, if one feels slighted or underserved by a doctor, it does pay to speak up....   About a year ago, my GP was starting to get hard to see, quickly.  His receptionist was always claiming, booked up, next week, etc etc.  Three times I found myself a nearby clinic (very chic, good care) that has walk in service.  They sent results of one test to my doc. Finally with him on the phone, I told him flat out how hard it was to see him, and that I was frustrated and couldn't there be a solution.  He quickly gave instructions that I was to booked fast, next call.  And the next call, I was.  Within a half hour....

That's not about prejudice, but it is about getting the service you need....   

Another thing is to tell your doc flat out if there is something in the care/contact that bugs you.  "I feel that you....."

People can be too damned impressed by doctors to communicate and demand an exchange...  Its a pity because doctors are in the people business and if you shake em a bit I bet most of the time the relation improves, not the contrary.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 07:27:18 PM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline mikeyb39

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2013, 07:26:25 PM »
My doctor is gay and works primarily with HIV patients for the most part.  If i ever need to see a specialist i get a referral from him and never had had any problems.  I even had him refer me to a dentist.

I went to the ER last October and i advised both the nurse and doctor and neither of them batted an eye, they just did what they do.  But I can see that some doctors may have some issues, i just haven't encountered it thus far.  Maybe because i live in a large city i don't know.
11/02/2010  cd4-251, vl-591000
12/09/2010  started Atripla
02/18/2011  cd4-425, vl-800
06/10/2011  cd4-447, vl-70
10/10/2011  cd4-666, vl-80
01/05/2012  swiched med (prezista,norvir ,isentress, )
02/10/2012  cd4-733, vl-UD  Viread removed
06/10/2012  cd4-614, vl-UD
12/14/2012  cd4-764, vl-UD
09/01/2013  cd4-785, vl-UD
03/06/2014. cd4- 1078, VL-UD

Offline pittman

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 08:28:28 PM »
My periodic visits to the doctors are always an emotional disturbance for me. Despite my best efforts to remain rational, my emotions can have a far bigger impact than I would like when it comes to my doctor visits.  There is so much cultural and societal baggage tied up in an HIV diagnoses that it is easy to become sensitive and overly sensitive to perceived reactions from others.

Assuming that the healthcare professionals really do want to succeed in helping their patients, then I think they do have some share in reducing barriers to care, including building a relationship of trust with the patients.

My initial diagnoses and initial care was fraught with missteps and mistakes, and placed a much heavier burden on me than should have been-- especially at that point in time in my care.  However, it was the human touch and sincerity of the staff at the HIV clinic that helped me past those problems, despite my initial misgivings on the quality of care I was receiving from them.

My primary doctor is my ID specialist, and he always makes an effort to be caring and warm, as well as taking the time to go into as much detail about health topics as I need or want.  I later found out he travels to Africa almost annually to help train doctors there, and help treat patients.

The senior physician in the anal dysphasia group of the clinic is the ultimate charmer, complete with british accent and fantastic bedside manor.  I absolutely hate visits to that group, but he makes it the easiest it could possibly be.  Now he has a young (and disconcertingly good looking) doctor working with him, who almost amusingly talks from the same script.  What seems natural with the senior doctor still comes across a bit rote and scripted with the younger one.  Perhaps with time and practice he'll develop the more natural delivery. 

The only doctor that I know for sure is gay is the charming British one, though I would guess his younger counter part dresses way too stylish to not be as well. :-)
But in the end, even if none of them were gay, acting as they do, they make it very very clear in words and actions that as far as they are concerned, knowing a patient is gay only helps them be better at caring for that patient.

Whenever I have seen anyone outside of the clinic, it was on the referral of my ID specialist, and so far the few I met that way were just fine,  AND by nature of the referral immediately knew that I was HIV+ and factored that in as needed.

So much rides on your health, and if you are like me and find the doctor visits stressful, then by all means try your best to find doctors that ease the stress and not add to it!
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 08:31:22 PM by pittman »

Offline OneTampa

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 09:01:14 PM »
I have listed below my post to a similar discussion thread here about 4 1/2 years ago.  My sentiments remain the same today.


Online OneTampa

   
Re: HIPAA violation?
« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2007, 06:44:16 PM »

    Quote

Molten,

As I type this my fingers are moving fiercely across the keyboard.  Normally I don't advocate high aggressive behavior but in this case even Mother Theresa would say "Bury the bitch and the shack where she works!"  You[r] post clearly touched and inflamed some nerves in all of us here at this message board as we all deeply feel for you.  We are already in a anxious state with this virus, we sure as hell don't need a fool, in the medical profession or health services [of all places], making us feel even more miserable.

Several years ago, I had a similar experience with an uncouth ear nose and throat doctor who was very snippy with me.  I tore him a new tunnel for an asshole and told him not to lay a hand on me. I then promptly walked to the front desk and asked to see the head of the department.  And this was at a highly regarded hospital in the Washington DC area.  I was promptly assigned another doctor who treats m[e] like royalty to this day.

Many here made some very good suggestions encouraging you to contact the pharmacy store management, headquarters, customer service, legal counsel, media etc.

Bottom line--honey, you have the power.  Use it!

Huge hug!

"He is my oldest child. The shy and retiring one over there with the Haitian headdress serving pescaíto frito."

Offline RobbyR

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2013, 09:12:49 PM »
Great responses guys, thanks..I have found that my HIV/infectious disease docs, as well as my primary docs, who are in the same clinic, are VERY nice, caring, and sympathetic, they are always proactive and want to help in anyway they can. And in instances where I have been referred for specialist care for other issues, mostly my experiences have been positive. There's always going to be a doc you don't click with, for whatever reason, and sometimes that's just their demeanor regardless of sexual orientation/hiv status.

But I do think some docs out there, regardless of their intentions, have inherent biases against gay people and hiv patients. These seem to be more of the specialist docs for some reason. I live in a mid-sized city, which is fairly blue, in a very very red state. Luckily the hiv clinic I go to is excellent.

But I was referred recently to the colorectal clinic in the same hospital where my hiv clinic is, and they only have two colorectal doctors there, a lady and a man. The lady was very cold and distant, and didn't spend any time with me to discuss my issues and seemed like it was a chore to deal with me. So I tried the male doc, and he was a bit better, but still a bit rushed and aloof. Seemed to just shrug and give hurried answers when I tried to ask about my rectal polyp. I just didn't feel comfortable with him.

So I decided to seek out a specialist colorectal clinic in my town, outside of the healthcare system where I get my hiv care. I didn't want to do this, because it makes things more complicated, and my insurance is limited, but I had to get the poly out, and I wanted a more understanding doc.

I went to the colorectal clinic and all the patients seemed to be very very elderly, and the whole place just seemed pretty uptight. I met the colorectal doc, and he was very professional and informative, but again, didn't seem to want to hear about any hiv-related questions I had. When I had my colonoscopy, I had to have a relative there with me of course, because I couldn't drive afterwards. I am not the type to confide my personal business to family members, so noone in my family knows of my hiv status, so I made sure to tell the nurses and the colorectal doc that I did not want my HIV status disclosed at all. They complied with this, but it seemed that the doc acted a bit weird when I asked this. He seemed like it bothered him. Not sure why, it's my right to not want that mentioned! He was competent, but bedside manner a bit weird. So not sure if I just need to try yet another colorectal doc, or just ask my primary doc if she knows of one in my area who is known to be very good with hiv-related issues/gay men's health.

I think the bottom line is, don't settle. If you have to be referred for any kind of specialist care, make sure they doc is attentive and competent, has great credentials, and is very open and willing to discuss any health questions you have. After all that's their job. Because I live in a mid-sized town, I don't have as many options as far as specialized care as others, but I am definately not one to settle for someone I don't feel 100% comfortable with. Aside from competence, bedside manner is HUGELY important, especially to me!
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 09:18:20 PM by RobbyR »
Started Atripla August, 2010.

Offline mecch

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2013, 09:39:21 PM »
If I read correctly, you have seen 3 ass doctors and all 3 were not up to snuff.

Maybe your experience proves that this personality type goes into that field??  :o

Perhaps you aren't all that comfortable about your ass being out of whack, so you're looking for more sensitivity than can realistically be expected...??

The ass doc who did my colonoscopy was older, elegant and rather formal in his manner.  But very professional and knew a few things about HIV...

I had an ass doc once in university who was a post-frat type.  He even invited my lover at the time who was in med school to come and watch them dilate my bottom big enough to shove a football in, said my lover, after the fact...

Maybe elegant, formal and aloof is the way to go when it comes to ass doctoring.  I mean, they might be worried others judge them a bit, having to work around butts all day...  Maybe they overcompensate...
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 09:42:00 PM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Jeff G

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2013, 09:53:39 PM »
Dear Robby ... It may be hard to find a proctologist that exudes exuberance when looking at your bunghole ... competence may be all you find .

I have to admit having a doctor peer into the depths of me is a bit unsettling and not my idea of a stress free afternoon , so I do understand you being uncomfortable . 

Offline buginme2

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2013, 10:23:42 PM »
Robby,

You seem to be having a lot of anxiety regarding your HPV and anal issues.  It's possible that some of the aloofness you are receiving is because many colorectal specialist are not trained in anal dysplasia.  It's possible you are asking questions outside their expertise.

HRA's (High resolution Anoscopy's) which you have inquired about are only performed at a few medical centers in the country.  Many places don't do them yet. 

Here is a link to every (most all) providers in the United States that perform HRA's.  I don't know where you live but it's possible there is one close to you.  Find the closest one and make an appointment, hopefully there is one in your area.
a lot of the time finding the right specialist is half the battle.

http://id.medicine.ucsf.edu/analcancerinfo/all_providers.html

Offline aaware72

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2013, 10:36:05 PM »
The more I read here I get the feeling that I am lucky to have found the doctor I have.  It was my partner that direct me to him.  He is my HIV, PC and will be doing my HRA next week. My doctor is also gay.
"Yes, knowledge is power. Self-knowledge brings mastery of one's body."

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2013, 10:38:59 PM »
Maybe this is a regional thing.  I have always been treated with the utmost respect.  in fact I have noticed when I tell an unfamiliar doctor Im hiv positive I get.better care.

maybe it's because I'm treated at s large urban hospital in a very blue city /state. 
albeit in a fairly blue city, but it is still a roll of the dice if specialist care is needed, in regards to finding a provider who is sensitive to gay/hiv related issues. Anyone else have some thoughts on this?

This has been my experience over the span of twenty years.

I also think that some patients have such self-loathing that maybe (can't be sure) are reading much more into these supposed negative experiences -- though I won't deny that the occur from time to time, but just not to the extent presented here. Maybe I'm just naive.
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline tednlou2

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2013, 11:32:57 PM »
For the most part, I've had very good experiences.  I do think there are just many docs, who are aloof.  Many seem to lack common communication skills and act like they've not had much interaction with humans.  Mitt Romney types.  I have a doc in the family.  His sense of humor is very dry, and he can come off very distant.  Well, a fart, in person or on TV, will get him rolling.  He will tell stories he thinks are hilarious.  We all make fun of him.  It takes him ten minutes to tell it, and it is never funny.

I have wondered whether I am paranoid.  I noticed my family doc nurses stopped taking my temp, after my dx.  They had always done it, ever since I first went there in the 90's.  I finally asked.  One nurse said it was to save time, saying if you aren't coming in sick with something, then they aren't doing it.  I was seeing him for my back problems.  I took her word, but I admit I still wonder.  Temp and bp is standard practice at every doc.  Even my dentist does both. 

At the same doc, I mentioned to the nurse that I had a lump on my anus that I was concerned about.  She said he doesn't look at anyone's private parts.  That seemed strange to me.  I thought that is a doc's job, to examine any issue to see whether you need to see a specialist right away.  Again, perhaps I am just paranoid, and most GP's don't look at private parts.  But, they didn't even refer me to a colorectal doc.  I had to find my own.  Luckily, it was just a skin tag. 

Besides that, the HIV pharmacist at my HIV doc said, "When you're out partying and hopping into bed with strange guys, then you can't be surprised you got infected."  Ok, I guess it is true that you shouldn't be surprised, if you are having unprotected sex, with a bunch of strange guys.  But, it was the judgment in her tone.  And, I never said I was dumbfounded, so why go there.  I let it go at the time, but I finally told her how insensitive that remark was.  She didn't know me or know how I was infected.  And, it doesn't matter.  I told her I hope she doesn't treat people differently, depending on how she thinks they were infected, or whether they are straight or gay. 

But, I have still had more positive experiences than negative.  I had a dentist, who would pull off his bloody mask with his bare hands.  One time, he even wiped away some dried blood around my mouth with his bare hand.  I thought I was glad he wasn't skeerd, but I could do without the bare fingers around my mouth..lol. 

Offline weasel

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2013, 06:44:26 AM »

   I have found all of my doctors to be very nice , I do have a very goofy
  doctors assistant  , But she is not anti gay or anything .
   Relating to CLP's post , I can still remember the way my blood chilled when a
  complete ass-hole doctor told me I had HIV and it would turn to AIDS . Three days              later  I was told I was full blown AIDS  :'(
  That was in a major Las Vegas medical Center !  He was not anti gay or anti HIV , just had a very  " This is it the facts personality "   
  Moving on ........
  I have been treated at the V.A. in Saint Louis , Missouri for over 8 years now .
  They have  a great staff of doctors and nurses . I always tell any health person that sees me that I have AIDS . They usually say thank you , or smile  at me  :)
 I know of many many dentists in Missouri that flat out refuse to see an HIV person . I know they treat some , because some people don't tell a doctor or dentist they are HIV POZ .
  When I had my CinemaScope of my discharge hole done , it was all matter of fact . I find specialists to be aloof . Does not bother me . 
 I will never forget the Navy doctor that looked at my ex-ray and gasped  :o
Then got another doctor to look at me ?  Never really figured out what they saw ?
     
                                         Weasel , Happy with my health care

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Offline wolfter

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2013, 10:51:13 AM »
Interesting discussion!

I believe there are MANY issues here.  All people, including health care professionals hold biases and prejudices.  It's a human condition.   The main key is how we each deal with these thought patterns.  Early on in my career, I caught myself judging people immediately because of preconceived notions; the obese people having diabetes complications, chronic smokers having respiratory issues, gay men not taking responsibility for curbing the spread of HIV, drug users contracting Hepatitis...etc

I truly believe MOST health care professionals work to overcome these conditioned biases. 

The majority of my interactions with health care providers has been positive.  I think I conditioned by original ID doctor to treat me less than stellar because of my own shame.  In those days, I could barely make eye contact and I perpetuated my own stigma.  I cringed everytime I uttered that I had HIV.

Once I overcame this self induced stigma, I was finally able to be in charge of my healthcare.  I can easily announce to any healthcare provider my HIV status without reservation.

There are sometimes when doctors and patients don't bond, again that's the humanity in us.  I've never had an issue with switching if I didn't feel a good fit.  I just did that with my last ortho surgeon.  It wasn't a gay/HIV thing with him, I just didn't connect with him and I didn't feel at ease.  My current ortho doctor is a better fit for me.

I went through the whole ass surgery thing about 2 years ago and I never felt the doctor was anything but respectful and diligent about my treatment.  I wouldn't have allowed anything less.  We all have options, including the ability to seek other professionals.

Wolfie
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Offline darryaz

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2013, 01:08:36 PM »
We all have options, including the ability to seek other professionals.

I think that's the best comment yet.

Oh, and I had a respectful ass doctor too.  He even cracked a joke about me being "ready for action" after he operated on my anal fissure.

(and this is the bible belt!!!)
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 01:11:38 PM by darryaz »

Offline karry

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2013, 07:31:53 PM »
...Sorry to jump into this conversation and steer it in a slightly different direction...but some drs are also biased to HIV+ straight females.....I am on my third gynaecologist in 3 yrs....(maybe I should be posting this in the positive women forums).
....Number 1 asked me on the first visit if I got HIV from working as a sex worker (I guess black female HIV + comes into his office translates into sex worker)...so I stumped out and my doctor sent me to a different gynaecologist.
....Number two sees me for 2 minutes a visit, tries to push tests at me that I SHOULD pay for..I refuse them and I request to do these same tests at the public hospital where the tests are free...I get told being pos, I should pay more attention to my health, and spend on tests....and I get treated like shit by the nurses because I wont pay 170$ plus 115$ on tests I can do for free
....So my dr is hunting for number three for me right now.

 :-[
Take it a day at a time....and be positive about it too!

Offline buginme2

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2013, 07:39:17 PM »
...Sorry to jump into this conversation and steer it in a slightly different direction...but some drs are also biased to HIV+ straight females.....I am on my third gynaecologist in 3 yrs....(maybe I should be posting this in the positive women forums).
....Number 1 asked me on the first visit if I got HIV from working as a sex worker (I guess black female HIV + comes into his office translates into sex worker)...so I stumped out and my doctor sent me to a different gynaecologist.
....Number two sees me for 2 minutes a visit, tries to push tests at me that I SHOULD pay for..I refuse them and I request to do these same tests at the public hospital where the tests are free...I get told being pos, I should pay more attention to my health, and spend on tests....and I get treated like shit by the nurses because I wont pay 170$ plus 115$ on tests I can do for free
....So my dr is hunting for number three for me right now.

 :-[

Thanks for posting this Kerry, I don't think this is steering the conversation in a different direction at all.  I think it shows us that being HIV positive regardless of being straight or gay or make or female all comes with some stigma and preconceived notions about "who" gets it and what we did to deserve it.

That's universal and it sucks no matter what demographic you belong to.

Offline Jeff G

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2013, 07:43:05 PM »
Thanks for sharing Karry , your comments are as relevant as anyone else on the board .

Offline pittman

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2013, 07:52:55 PM »
...Sorry to jump into this conversation and steer it in a slightly different direction...but some drs are also biased to HIV+ straight females.....I am on my third gynaecologist in 3 yrs....(maybe I should be posting this in the positive women forums).

No, that is exactly what we've been talking about. In fact, as good I think the doctor from the anal dysplasia clinic is, I still find it incredibly discomforting and often wonder how women deal with it so much more than us guys, as it is a routine part of womens' care to see gynaecologists.

Offline karry

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2013, 08:04:02 PM »
Reading through the posts on this topic I came to realise that the common denominator here is the HIV infection, along with the stigma that lack of education about HIV brings.

My ID doctor and his staff are wonderful....I have been going there for 5 years and I feel more at home each time.

The stress often comes when I have to go see a specialist, as is the case with a gyneacologist that I must see at least once a year. I made up my mind a long time ago that I will not put up with any discrimination from the people who are there to take care of my health....I wont compromise.....if I need to have all the gyneacologists in this city see me till I meet one who will make my health a priority and give me the attention I need, so be it! I am ready to fight the fight!!!

Thanks to the OP for starting this topic, and to all for your contributions.
Karry
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Offline wolfter

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2013, 01:10:41 PM »
I had to do some  research yesterday to obtain a new dentist.  My beloved dentist for over 20 years is leaving the area to join another group way outside my area.

I reviewed about 10 different dentist online and contacted 6 different ones by phone.  The first obvious question I asked was if they were accepting new patients.  All of them were.  Then I explained that I'm a long term HIV infected person and asked each of them if that would be an "issue".  I had great conversations with 4 of the different receptionists and they informed me that have and continue to see many HIV infected patients.

2 of the receptionists said they'd have to speak to dentist and get back with me.  They both asked for my contact info which I failed to see the need to give them.  They obviously don't already have a noted policy about it.  I also noted they seemed less friendly once I disclosed my status.  I told them both that I'd rather choose to see a dentist that readily accepts HIV positive folk.

3 of the 4 I'm considering offered a free consultation as I'm still deciding.  I did explain that I'm "interviewing" dentists before deciding on a long term relationship with one.  I appreciated that they laughed along with corny jokes.

I'm left with 3 potential dentists that I'll be interviewing.  My entire point of this is that we must be in control and perform own due diligence before making medical decisions. 

Just a few short years ago, I was admitted to the hospital and placed in a palliative care room with a huge biohazard sticker attached to the door.  I was fortunate enough to be able to contact my doctor immediately after noticing this sign.  He was there within the hour and I was moved to an appropriate room.  I blew a cork about the entire situation and ended up receiving the best care imaginable.

Again, I didn't cower in shame and stigma but instead, worked to change the situation.  My doctor works with this hospital and they have since changed the policy and educated the staff.  We must make noise when we witness or are subjected to this type of behavior.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 01:13:29 PM by wolfter »
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Offline camille07

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2013, 07:24:02 AM »
I am a straight, white 43 year old female and never had a problem with ER docs or my gp.  But the specialist are always a problem.  It's so bad I really dread it.  I always get the same question, "you don't mind me asking, how did you become positive."   I've had this for 7 years and know when a doctor 's demeanor changes. 

The worst situation was last year.  I went to a well known orthopedic center in my state.  This crew of 5 doctors were considered one the best, but all were cocky and absent of any bedside manner.  When I first went in for my consultation, I knew that the orthopedic surgeon's nurse was uncomfortable being near me.  So much that they switched nurses.  They gave me a nurse, who reminded me of Lebowski's the dude.  Months after my operation, the doctor asked if I wanted the hardware, in my foot, like the screws to be removed in the office or hospital, I opted for the office.  I asked him if Kerry would be assisting, and he said of course.  I found it so hard to believe that my husband and I placed bets the night before.

The morning of the mini op they had me in their top notch room, prepping my foot and my doctor is freaking out with chaos everywhere.  Everyone is running around with their heads cut off.  I asked the "dude" what was happening.  He said Kerry called last minute, which is not like her and knew she had to assist my doctor with the mini op.  I over heard two nurses talking about the situation outside in the hallway.  "Kerry said she was really freaked out about coming today...but not just because of patient poz (nice ladies) but her mom is a germifobe and didn't feel comfortable with her coming in either."  After this madness, I was very vocal with my former doctor that I very disappointed with his level of care.  Additionally, that all his staff need to educated, seriously educated about this disease. 

But this is jersey.  I've posted this before.  My Hiv doc is one of the very best, and I love my gyn.  But there is a lot of ignorance in this state about the disease...still. 

So now I have a torn rotary cuff.  I found a new group of doctors.  They may not be  the best, but they make me feel comfortable.  It's also the first time that I was not asked that question of "how."

Oh, and I'm sorry if this was specifically just gay-hiv bias scenarios, just thought I would put it out there.  Especially since there were just hiv situations mentioned earlier.

Have a great day!

Camms
« Last Edit: March 10, 2013, 07:28:21 AM by camille07 »

Offline mecch

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2013, 08:47:43 AM »
What are some answers to that question:  Do you mind if I ask how you got HIV?

one's that aren't too snarky:

1. Why do you want to know?

2. Sex.

3. Sharon Needles....ooops  Sharing needles.

4. I was born with it.

Starting to get snarky:

1. Yes I do mind.

2. Let's play a game.  You tell me the principal routes of transmission, and I'll blink twice when you get to mine.

3.  From sex.  It's an STD. You know that, right?

4.  Where did you go to Med School, again?

5.  Is it true what they say about doctors who drive really expensive sports cars?



“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline RobbyR

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2013, 07:01:01 PM »
Very thoughtful responses. I think the name of the game is personal empowement as patients, we have the right to change docs whenever we want if we are not fully satisfied with the attitude/care of a particular doctor. People should never settle if they don't feel entirely comfortable with a doctor. As I mentioned earlier, I have had excellent luck with my infectious disease docs of course, and most general docs are very understanding and competent where HIV & HIV-related illnesses are concerned.

It's some of the specialists that seem to have somewhat cold demeanors or prickly attitudes in my experience. Not always true, but seems to be more prevalent among the specialists than the general docs I've encountered.

It's like some assume everyone gets HIV from being drug addicts, sharing needles as was mentioned, and just assuming very outdated 1980s prejudicial attitudes towards HIV-related care. Maybe specialists are more isolated and aren't exposed to as diverse a spectrum of patients, so they harbor ignorant attitudes & preconceived ideas, who knows.

Some might say as long as they are competent docs, nothing else matters. I couldn't disagree more. I'd rather have a competent doc than a quack with a great attitude for sure, but why settle? When specialist care is needed, as in my case with colorectal issues, feeling like you can ask your doc anything without being judged or given a funny look means so much, plus it makes you not have to worry about whether the doc actually cares or not.

I don't know what they say about docs who drive fancy cars, never heard that one before, but funny enough, my HIV doc was talking to me the other day about of the surgeons at our local hospital, and said he was an excellent surgeon, but a little on the weird, self-worshipping side. She even said, "yeah, he's very good, but drives a porsche & just has a clinical outlook on everything".

I don't advocate doctor-hopping, but as I said before, if specialist care is needed, especially for HIV-related issues, rapport with one's specialist doc is CRUCIAL for peace of mind and open communication!
Started Atripla August, 2010.

Offline darryaz

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2013, 07:24:34 PM »
What are some answers to that question:  Do you mind if I ask how you got HIV?

I like your answers.  I usually use....

"I got it the old-fashioned way."

Offline mecch

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2013, 07:49:29 PM »
Many responses here include the idea that "we" can change, and choose our doctors.  Just take a moment to remember that not everyone all over the world has the good luck to be able to choose.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2013, 09:23:08 PM »
Great discussion - I have been fortunate so far:

My GP/ID doc is gay and has well over 100 HIV patients.  He was my GP prior to infection so we already had a good relationship.  He is a very good doctor all the way around.

When I had to disclose to the nurse prepping me for my colonoscopy I was nervous as hell and I am sure she could tell.  She didn't bat an eye and said "I assume everyone is positive, and we have quite a few patients that are, and you are more likely to have Hep C".  She treated me like anyone else.

I am seeing a dentist next week for the first time since diagnosis - who my GP/ID doc referred me to - I am a bit nervous but think it will go just fine.

03/15/12 Negative
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Offline wolfter

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2013, 12:42:29 PM »
Many responses here include the idea that "we" can change, and choose our doctors.  Just take a moment to remember that not everyone all over the world has the good luck to be able to choose.

Perhaps our responses would have been different if that was the question posed.  Since the OP is in the US, I still stand firm in my responses. 

OH, and BTW, the reason that health care professionals ask about the mode of transmition is that they want a complete picture of their patients. 
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Offline darryaz

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #31 on: March 11, 2013, 01:10:55 PM »
Of course being gay/poz friendly isn't the ONLY consideration.  I had a gay dentist several years ago (I suspect poz as well - lipo is hard to hide) and I absolutely HATED him.
 
The key is to find healthcare providers with qualities that work FOR YOU.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #32 on: March 11, 2013, 01:14:59 PM »
Do people ever consider the possibility that instead of there being so many "bad doctors" that, perhaps, there are a lot of bad patients?
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline buginme2

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #33 on: March 11, 2013, 01:17:43 PM »

OH, and BTW, the reason that health care professionals ask about the mode of transmition is that they want a complete picture of their patients.

What is the reason behind asking a patient their "mode of transmission?" 

I've had doctors ask what my viral load is, cd4 count, what medication I am on etc.  I have never had a doctor ask what my mode of transmission is. 

I can only imagine a doctor asking me how I contracted hiv.....would be met with distinct " excuse me?"


Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #34 on: March 11, 2013, 01:19:39 PM »
What is the reason behind asking a patient their "mode of transmission?" 

Dunno. I guess if I was a doctor I'd find it useful knowing if a patient had an on-going drug use issue that would complicate adherence and/or lead to Hep C. At least where I live a full third of new infections are due to this.
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline wolfter

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #35 on: March 11, 2013, 01:31:54 PM »
Dunno. I guess if I was a doctor I'd find it useful knowing if a patient had an on-going drug use issue that would complicate adherence and/or lead to Hep C. At least where I live a full third of new infections are due to this.

EXACTLY!!!!

The thread title says a lot.  To continue to cry about the ongoing stigma of this virus and then become upset when someone asks how we acquired it is beyond my realm of comprehension.  I've never had a professional ask for details beyond the mode of transmission.  But I would gladly give detailed descriptions of that lovely night if asked. :o :o :o
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Offline mecch

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #36 on: March 11, 2013, 01:47:58 PM »
OH, and BTW, the reason that health care professionals ask about the mode of transmition is that they want a complete picture of their patients.
I agree.  Often, its the patients that read into the question.

But I've had a few run-ins with cloddish doctors, the exception to the rule. And bias and prejudice does exist, and could be felt via questions and a hard to put a finger on ickiness.

« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 01:56:27 PM by mecch »
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Offline darryaz

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #37 on: March 11, 2013, 02:21:15 PM »
Do people ever consider the possibility that instead of there being so many "bad doctors" that, perhaps, there are a lot of bad patients?

Good point.  I cringe at some of the things I hear in the waiting room at my doc's office.

Offline buginme2

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #38 on: March 11, 2013, 04:18:09 PM »
Dunno. I guess if I was a doctor I'd find it useful knowing if a patient had an on-going drug use issue that would complicate adherence and/or lead to Hep C. At least where I live a full third of new infections are due to this.

I understand this completely.  I think it reallly has to do with the context. 

I know my HIV doctor has inquired about drug use, sex practices, adherence, and some other very personal issues.  I didnt and havent batted an eye. 

Some of the previous posters were commenting though when they go see a specialist.  I am assuming for a non HIV issue.  In my experience I have seen a few specialists for non HIV issues.  Most recently I went to see a dermatologist.  When I first went to see her she didnt know I was HIV positive.  When I told her she paused, you could see her thinking, then she asked me a series of questions regarding my viral load, cd4 counts and then she re-examined some areas.. etc. 

Then she explained to me her experience in treating patients with HIV to make ME more comfortable with HER.  She explained how she did her residency in the bronx and worked with the HIV clinic at the hospital and her experience due to the high numbers of patients with HIV.  The point is, she was trying to make me feel comfortable and not the other way around.  I think if she had looked at me and said "so how did you contract HIV" it might have gone a different way.

I said previously, that in my experience when I have told doctors (not my primary HIV doctor) that I have HIV the medical care I have been receiving back has been......better.  In my experience so far, I have had doctors go out of their way to make me comfortable and checked me for issues that they may not have checked before.

Some of it may be how you tell them?? I dunno.  Or maybe its just some people being overly sensitive??  Although, I'm sure there are many doctors who are just pricks.

Offline Newguy

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #39 on: March 11, 2013, 04:20:54 PM »
I am in Canada

So far my experience here in Canada, visiting doctors and health care professionals has been incredibly compassionate. I go in scared thinking I picked something up and right off the bat disclose I am gay and have HIV and they open their arms to me. Sometimes I think I shock them, but they treat me like a million dollars. Most of my experience has been with female health care professionals and they threat me almost like a son. They are awesome! The males have been great too but they are more to the point of let me fix you up and get out mentality.

I don't think there is any bias at all for having HIV. I imagine doctors see a lot of obese patients, smokers, drinkers, drug users, mental health patients and they all get the same treatment. Of course, I am sure my doctor is like WEAR A CONDOM in the back of his/her mind but I am sure they think STOP EATING when they see an obese patient! It's all good!

Offline OneTampa

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #40 on: March 11, 2013, 04:55:12 PM »
I am very fortunate. In my 28 years of being HIV positive and seeing doctors for various medical treatments, I have only had 2 doctor run ins--the one I recounted in this thread and one early on about 27 years ago.  In both instances the doctors were jerks--clear and simple--and I was able to request and receive reassignments to different doctors.
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Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #41 on: March 11, 2013, 05:26:39 PM »
I've fired one HIV doctor. I'd just had my first visit with her (I'd had to change doctors because of an insurance issue) and some prescription she wrote my insurance company balked at covering. When I called her back to explain this and discuss other options she flew off the handle, yelled at me about "not having time to deal with insurance issues instead of medical ones" and then literally hung the phone up on me. I was actually going to report her to the AMA but my therapist talked me out of it, though he said naturally it was fully within my rights as a patient to do so.

Including that nutcase I have had a total of five HIV doctors spanning two decades. I will admit that some had personalities that I found more enjoyable than others, but that's natural. I don't go to to the doctor to be friends with him/her. And I used to think it helpful to have gay doctors but it's a trivial issue really. No straight doctor has ever balked at a discussion of sexual things, it's really the patient who has discomfort issues with subjects (generally). I haven't ever been bashful about my own sexuality so I don't really care.

As far as specialists go, and I've seen tons, I simply disclose on the forms as required, list all of the mediations I take, and then generally also take a copy of my most recent lab results. So most of the time once I'm in the examination room they've already glanced over this in my file hanging outside of the room and if they have any more questions they ask. I've never been asked by a non-HIV specialist how I was infected. I'm sure my first HIV doctor asked, but it was so long ago I can't remember the conversation.

I've not had a single doctor, nurse, office personnel ever act in a HIV-phobic or homophobic manner a single time, but I've lived in liberal, urban areas so I'm sure that's a large part of it.
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline buginme2

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #42 on: March 11, 2013, 07:55:05 PM »
Im just throwing this out there as an idea.  My HIV doc is part of the "HIV clinic" at a hospital/medical center.  When I need to see a specialist for a non hiv issue I go to that department at the same center.  Dermatology is on the 12th floor, my gastroenterologist is on the third floor, but they are all part of the same hospital.

I wonder if your HIV doc was a private practice, and you had to see a specialist for something and got referred to another private practice if itwould be harder to find someone with hiv experience.

Just a thought

Offline mecch

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #43 on: March 11, 2013, 08:33:32 PM »
I am happy to hear that so many of you in the States have freedom to choose which doctors you want to see.
I am also surprised. 

My first jobs in NYC in the 80's I had "old-fashioned" comprehensive very generous health coverage - any doctor anywhere in the city, no deductible, just about everything imaginable covered - eyeglasses, sunglasses!, facials at the dermatologist, exercise coaches prescribed by osteopaths, contribution to the gym membership, acupuncture, endless therapy, blah blah, you name it. 

I understood that was the last stand, for good free comprehensive health coverage through work.

Then I left NYC for three years.  When I returned to the city, and when I was once again insured through work, it was the mid 90's it was a different story.  No dental. No eye. HMO list of doctors and had to be in my neighborhood's income range (wasn't free to go to a Park Avenue dermatologist charging whatever the fuck, in other words.. since I rented in Brooklyn)  Very limited mental health. Deductibles.  etc etc etc.  The basics covered but it wasn't all that "free" and filled with choice.... 

I just lucked out in the 90s because I found a lovely doctor on my list around the corner in Brooklyn...  Monica Sweeney. (She went on to be an HIV/AIDS policy specialist, but back then she was a neighborhood GP and I didn't have HIV anyway.)  And I was pretty healthy and adjusted in the 90s so didn't need all that much in the way of health care.
 
Did HMO's bite the dust after the 90's? How did things loosen up again, since???  What about those with government health coverage?  You get a fair amount of freedom to choose? 

How do you in the States manage to have so much choice? 
« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 09:01:17 PM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline pittman

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #44 on: March 11, 2013, 09:35:17 PM »
Dunno. I guess if I was a doctor I'd find it useful knowing if a patient had an on-going drug use issue that would complicate adherence and/or lead to Hep C. At least where I live a full third of new infections are due to this.

Then they should ask about your current behaviors, not one that could easily be from years or decades past. Also, unless they are treating you for the underlying HIV, then I would feel the need to have them explain the relevance.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #45 on: March 11, 2013, 09:44:26 PM »
Then they should ask about your current behaviors, not one that could easily be from years or decades past. Also, unless they are treating you for the underlying HIV, then I would feel the need to have them explain the relevance.

Like you admitted in your previous post in this thread from last week, you tend to be overly emotional about this. Don't you think that's the actual issue?
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline pittman

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #46 on: March 11, 2013, 10:18:45 PM »
Like you admitted in your previous post in this thread from last week, you tend to be overly emotional about this. Don't you think that's the actual issue?

Fair question, but no, I don't think so in this case.  In my job, I frequently work with people that are terrible at asking the correct question to uncover the right information.  If the doctor was asking the question of someone newly diagnosed or recently infected, the relevance is more clear cut. However I think that asking about current behaviors would be more useful in other cases. 

So, I think it is reasonable to ask the doctor to explain why they are asking-- it can either help you better understand what they really need it for, OR it will refocus them on what matters if they didn't really need to know.

In my case, I was only ever asked by my primary HIV doctor and his resident when I first started treatment years ago. At the time it seemed like a normal question for what they were seeing me for.  So far, no specialist has ever asked more than how long I have been on treatment and which meds I was taking.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 10:28:44 PM by pittman »

Offline leatherman

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #47 on: March 12, 2013, 01:16:49 AM »
my very first ID doctor in 1992 was serious homophobe. Sadly (though I thoroughly disliked him) the parade of dying patients that came through his office turned him into a raging alcoholic with 8 DUIs and lost privileges at both hospital. He was collateral damage in the HIV epidemic. Now I see a different ID once a year; all the other appts are with the nurse practitioner who is a lesbian, just slightly older than myself, who talks about everything with me and has seen everything on me. lucky lady  ;D

Then they should ask about your current behaviors, not one that could easily be from years or decades past. Also, unless they are treating you for the underlying HIV, then I would feel the need to have them explain the relevance.
27 yrs after I was infected I still get asked that question by new doctors, new clinics I go to, the yearly case management review (because it's data they are required to verify for state/federal data collection), when I speak in front of groups, by newbies, by the general public. It's a simple question and by the answer our scientists have data to use, our social workers know where to focus prevention and education messages, and doctors can do better followup on your health (either talking about protective MSM sex, sharing needles, looking at co-factor health issues like HPB, HVC, etc.)

one thing living with AIDS/HIV for decades will do for you is toughen up your skin, that's for sure ;) I suggest you not be so troubled over a question that will be repeated by professionals and the public for decades and decades of your life. ;)
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Thoughts On Some Doctors' Biases On Gay/HIV Patients?
« Reply #48 on: March 12, 2013, 03:14:38 AM »
Quote
one thing living with AIDS/HIV for decades will do for you is toughen up your skin, that's for sure  I suggest you not be so troubled over a question that will be repeated by professionals and the public for decades and decades of your life.

Testify.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

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