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Health Information Center

Talking to Your Doctor About AIDS

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Talking to Your Doctor About AIDS

You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background withHIV. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

Tips for Getting Information

To make it easier to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said. They may think of questions to ask.
  • Write your questions ahead of time.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you are hearing.
  • ask for help if you need it. Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About AIDS

  • How is my immune system functioning?
  • What is my viral load and CD4+ T cell count?
  • How quickly will my condition worsen?

About Your Risk of Developing AIDS

  • Based on my lifestyle, am I at risk for other infections?
  • Do I need to be tested for other infections?
  • What can I do to reduce my risk of progressing to AIDS?

About Treatment Options

  • What is my best treatment option?
  • What other options are there?
  • What are the risks and benefits of each treatment option?
  • What medicines can help me?
  • What are the benefits and side effects of these medicines?
  • When should I start taking them?
  • Will these medicines interact with other medicines, over the counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements I am already taking for other conditions?
  • How long will I have to take these medicines?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • What can I do to prevent other infections?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • What will I need to change in my daily routine?
  • How long can I expect to keep working at my job? Or caring for myself?
  • Should I exercise?
    • What type of exercise is best?
    • How much should I be exercising?
    • How do I get started with an exercise program?
  • Should I change how I eat? How do I go about it?
  • Should I stop drinking alcohol?
  • How can I find help to quit smoking?
  • What can I do to prevent problems from my disease?
  • How can I avoid giving this disease to someone I love? Or to other people?

About Outlook

  • What are my risks for developing complications?
  • Will I still be able to have children?
  • Will I put my future children at risk for this disease?
  • Will I be able to live a normal life?
  • How likely am I to be totally disabled or need help with personal care?
  • Am I likely to die soon? Do I need to prepare?


  • Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Accessed March 8, 2022.
  • HIV basics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/index.html. Accessed March 8, 2022.
  • Overview of HIV infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/overview-of-hiv-infection. Accessed March 8, 2022.


  • David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.