Most doctors and nurses make life with HIV much easier, providing therapies, answers and unlimited TLC. But some just don’t get it. When that’s the case, the first sign may be a demeaning word or phrase.

Amador Rivera, 53, of Salt Lake City, was diagnosed with HIV in 1988. When he asked questions, he got a label instead of an answer:

“This doctor did not like the fact that I ask a lot of questions. He dismissed my questions about testosterone therapy, saying, ‘I’m not starting you on that treatment—and that is that!’ When I asked again, he called me ‘combative.’

“I went to a different doctor who measured my testosterone levels, saw they were low and put me on testosterone replacement therapy. The first doc’s attitude was, ‘Do what I say or find a new doc.’ So I did.”

Got a complaint about your health care provider? E-mail with the subject line “Complaint Department.”