Whether you are newly diagnosed or transferring care from another provider, we want you to feel welcome and well-supported. We want you to know that you can live a long, healthy life with HIV and that you are not alone. Protecting the confidentiality of your diagnosis is important to us. We observe strict patient confidentiality regarding your diagnosis, care and treatment. This includes the way in which we communicate with you via phone and mail.
If you have recently been diagnosed with HIV, the recommendation is that you are seen by a HIV specialist within one week of receiving your diagnosis. You are encouraged to research our providers on your own or work with our staff to find the best fit for both your care and your schedule.
Transfer of care
For patients who have already been in treatment for HIV but are new to the HIV Program, the first appointment is typically scheduled within one month of contacting us to request one. You are encouraged to research our providers on your own or work with our staff to find the best fit for both your care and schedule.
Your first appointment
Your first appointment will be about 90 minutes long. Please bring either a current list of your medications or your prescription medication bottles with you, including all supplements and over-the-counter medications. At your first appointment, you will meet with a provider and a member of the client services team. You may have the opportunity to meet our pharmacist, a nurse, and phlebotomist, all who specialize in HIV care and play important roles in your care team.
The majority of the appointment will be spent meeting with your provider to discuss your diagnosis, clinical services we provide and treatment options. They can also address any concerns you have with informing sexual partners of your status, and preventive measures your partners can take.
The pharmacist will review medications you are currently taking to make sure we have an accurate record and to answer any questions you have about HIV medications. You will start HIV medication therapy as soon as possible after evaluation by the medical team to determine the most appropriate therapy for you.
The members of the Client Services team (CST) will help you throughout your care. At your first visit, you will get an overview of the services and support they can provide. One concern for many patients is the financial cost of treating HIV. A member of the CST will help you understand and navigate the programs that help to alleviate the burden of paying for care. The HIV Program also offers a wide range of additional support services through the Ryan White program, such as medical transportation assistance.
Clinic nursing staff will also visit with you. Your nurse will review what to expect and what is needed for future appointments. They will be available to answer any questions you have about the first and subsequent visits. If any injections or immunizations are needed, the nurse will provide them. The nursing staff is also available to provide educational and emotional support.
As part of your appointment, blood is drawn by our phlebotomist for several laboratory tests. The results of these lab tests will help you and your provider develop the best plan to manage your HIV care so that you can get the virus under control and protect your health.
Your first follow-up visit will be about four weeks after your initial appointment to discuss the lab results. Follow-up appointments after that usually range from 3 to 6 months, based on your care team's recommendations. Some patients follow up as little as once a year.
Preparing for your appointment:
You will be asked to provide basic demographic information before your first clinic visit
You will be asked to bring past medical records, if available
You will be asked to bring all medication containers to your first appointment
Follow these healthy practices during treatment:
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet; it helps keep immune system strong
Exercise on a regular basis; it helps reduce stress and improve your quality of life
Don’t smoke. People with HIV are at higher risk for heart attack and lung cancer and smoking can increase these risks even more
Don’t use illegal drugs, and limit your alcohol intake
We will perform HIV testing for partners of established clinic patients, but otherwise the HIV Clinic is not a testing facility. Individuals concerned about their HIV status and wishing to have an HIV test are encouraged to consult their own physician or have anonymous testing performed at one of the Nebraska AIDS Project sites.