If you are HIV positive, we can help you coordinate and receive the care and treatment you will need to stay healthy. We offer pharmacy, counseling, support groups and other services as well as medical case management that can help you access all your medical and social support needs. Services are available at our Clearwater and St. Petersburg locations, including our one-stop Home 3050 medical home in St. Petersburg.
The CDC National AIDS Hotline can offer practical information on maintaining health, general information on a variety of treatments (such as antiretroviral therapy and prophylaxis for opportunistic infections) and referrals to national treatment hotlines, local AIDS service organizations and HIV/AIDS-knowledgeable physicians. The hotline numbers are 1-800-342-2437 (English), 1-800-344-7432 (Spanish) or 1-888)-480-3739 (TTY).
For information on treatments and clinical trials, visit the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) AIDSinfo website or call at 1-800-448-0440 (English and Spanish) or 1-888-480-3739 (TTY). For information on enrolling in clinical trials, call 1-800-874-2572 (English and Spanish) and 1-888-480-3739 (TTY).
Ongoing medical care and anti-retroviral treatment (ART) are the most important things you can do to stay healthy. Once you find a doctor or clinic, you should get an evaluation of your general health and immune function. Many doctors will:
- Administer lab tests to evaluate your immune system.
- Determine if you have other diseases that might become problematic in the future, including syphilis, TB, hepatitis-B, and toxoplasmosis.
If you have one or more of these other illnesses, there may be treatments or prophylaxis available to prevent it from becoming more serious or recurring. If you do not have any of these illnesses, doctors may be able to prevent future infection by:
- Administering vaccines. Many HIV-positive people get a hepatitis-B vaccine and bacterial pneumonia vaccines, since contracting these diseases could be dangerous for immune-suppressed people.
- Prescribing antiretroviral treatments and protease inhibitors when tests show immune system impairment.
Scheduling regular check-ups, every three to six months, is essential. Some people need more frequent check-ups, particularly when they are starting new antiviral drugs.
It is also important to take care of your emotional well-being by going to counseling or support groups. Many HIV-positive people struggle emotionally because of isolation, depression, anxiety or other challenges and this support can provide a safe way of sharing feelings and practical information.
HIV can be treated and controlled with antiretroviral therapy (ART), a combination of medicines (called an HIV regimen) that must be taken every day as prescribed. Other treatment may include over-the-counter supplements, integrative therapies and medications to manage pain and other symptoms. Exercise, healthy eating, counseling and support groups also can help maintain your health and wellness. A qualified physician can help manage your care.