As more people are living healthy lives with HIV, they need doctors with experience of treating the whole range of day-to-day health problems.
More and more people are living long, healthy lives with HIV. It’s important to have access to doctors with experience of treating the whole range of day-to-day health problems.
General practitioners (GPs) have a lot of experience treating common conditions and long-term conditions such as diabetes, asthma and depression.
GPs are also able to prescribe drugs or give vaccines that are not available from your HIV clinic, such as antidepressants, blood pressure and cholesterol drugs, flu vaccines, and so on.
GP and other surgery staff can work with you as you try to lead a healthy lifestyle, offering advice and help on eating well, maintaining a healthy weight, doing exercise or giving up smoking, for example. And your GP is often the person who will need to refer you to specialist services if you need them for a health condition.
It’s important to be registered with a GP as well as an HIV clinic. Although you are not obliged to tell your GP that you have HIV, there are good medical reasons to do so. When treating you and giving you prescriptions, your doctor needs to know about other health issues you have, and all other medicines you are taking.
Some drugs your GP may prescribe (for example, oral contraceptives and antihistamines) can interact with HIV medicines.
Because of rules of confidentiality, the HIV clinic needs your permission before it can discuss your health with your GP. But you are likely to get better care if they keep your GP informed about your test results, tell your GP about any drug interactions to be aware of or ask your GP to prescribe something you need.
GPs will not get involved in HIV treatment decisions, which are left to the HIV clinic.
Just like other healthcare workers, GPs and their staff are obliged to maintain strict standards of confidentiality.
Your HIV clinic, local HIV organisations or other people with HIV living locally might be able to recommend good GP practices.
You can also call our free helpline THT Direct for a referral.
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I wouldn't trust my details with Gp's
I feel I need to disclose my status to my GP as it may help me put a few symptoms to bed but I'm worried about the confidentiality of my records - I only ask as my dad a few years ago had terminal cancer and a friend of the family through her links as a nurse was able to obtain his ct scan results before we were contacted so naturally I'm worried if I disclosed my status that information could be obtainable! I've not told anyone yet!
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This article was last reviewed on
by R. Bignami
Date due for the next review: 16/7/2017
Content Author: R. Pebody (NAM)
Current Owner: G. Hughson (NAM)
Royal College of General Practitioners It’s Your Practice: A patient guide to GP services RCGP, August 2011 BHIVA Standards of care for people living with HIV, 2013
NHS – NHS General Practitioners (GPs)
Various people talk about their experiences of living with HIV.
CAB - Citizens Advice Bureau
HIV Drug Interactions
George House Trust
Equality and Human Rights Commission
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