November #118 : Doctor's Diary - November 2005 - by Neal Rzepkowski, MD

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Table of Contents
 

Senior Class

A Place at the Table




Food for the Soul

Med Blues

Doctor's Diary - November 2005

Talking Turkey

Licking Lipo Where it Lives

Tea Cells

Ask the Sexpert - November 2005

Bedroom Gambling

Word Therapy

Employee of the Month - November 2005

No More Stickups




Postscripts from the Edge

Buzz - November 2005

Positive I.D.

Courting Disaster?

Rent's Due

Mentors - November 2005

Pushing the $$$ Envelope

I Demand a Recount

We are Family




Founder's Letter - November 2005

Mailbox - November 2005



 
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV



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November 2005


Doctor's Diary - November 2005

by Neal Rzepkowski, MD

A doctor with HIV is also a patient

Every three months, like anyone else with HIV, I find myself at the other end of the stethoscope, visiting my doctor. Though my training allows me to be confident about making treatment decisions, as a patient, my intuition and knowledge of my own body also guide my choices.

I go to a large HIV clinic, so I sometimes get switched from one physician to another. When I got a new doctor two years ago, I told her that my regimen for the last three years was a single drug, Epivir (3TC)—with my previous doctor’s approval, of course. I’d been on a 3TC/Zerit/Viramune combo when my lab work suggested that my virus had developed the M184V mutation. While that mutation meant that I had resistance to 3TC, studies were finding that it also made HIV less able to reproduce. With my CD4s staying around 500 and viral load holding at about 20,000, I had felt safe breaking the triple-combo-or-bust rule.

But my new provider didn’t agree. “Just humor me,” she said, and I did, stopping meds altogether. I knew that together we would figure out what to do if I got sick.

Three months later, my viral load was up and T cells down. We agreed: back to my one-med regimen. My labs soon reverted to their former status, and I knew my gut instinct—that of a well-informed, empowered patient—had steered me right. Like some of my own patients, I had played my role as a full partner in my relationship with my doctor.


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