During the first consultation - depending on the complaints you have - you will be seen by the internist or nurse consultant. An extensive questionnaire will be discussed with you and you will receive information about HIV and current advice regarding treatment of the infection. You will also receive information about safe sex, other sexually transmitted diseases and about the general state of affairs at the MC Jan van Goyen. During this first meeting, there is plenty of opportunity to ask questions such as: Should I tell them at work? Can you tell when I got the infection? Do I need to change my lifestyle now? Which vaccinations do you recommend?
A physical examination will then take place in which your height, weight, blood pressure and pulse are measured, among other things. After the interview and the physical examination, a number of additional examinations will be performed (if not already performed elsewhere):
- Blood test: general blood test (e.g. for anemia, kidney function, liver function, cholesterol, glucose), HIV viral load (the amount of HIV virus in the blood), CD4 cells (immune cells), hepatitis B and C examination, lues test (syphilis) .
- Chest X-ray (picture of heart and lungs)
- EKG (heart film)
You should allow about 2 hours for the first consultation and additional examinations. When the intake takes place by the nurse, you will be seen briefly by the internist.
About two weeks after the intake you will have the second appointment, usually with the internist. During this second consultation, the internist will discuss HIV in general with you. Specific questions will be asked about your current health and complaints, and about your medical history. Again, there is an opportunity to ask questions. This is followed by a general physical examination. All results will then be discussed with you and the further course of events will be determined in consultation with you. This further course of action depends on your complaints and symptoms and on the findings of additional research.
Follow-up consultations (internist-infectiologist, nurse specialist or both)
A number of things are determined at every follow-up consultation:
- CD4 count: these are the specific immune cells that are reduced by an HIV infection. The lower the CD4 count, the lower the immune system and the higher the chance of infections with other pathogens.
- Patient Complaints. At every consultation you will be asked whether you have specific complaints, if this is the case, a physical examination or additional examination will sometimes follow.
- Other blood determinations (varies per patient and per visit): HIV viral load (amount of HIV particles in the blood), hepatitis C and syphilis, kidney function, liver function, cholesterol and glucose and what else is necessary.
- Additional investigation if there is reason to do so.
The frequency of follow-up consultations depends on the complaints, symptoms, CD4 cells and any concomitant diseases. If there are no details, it will take place every four months.