For New Patients: An Overview

For New Patients: An Overview

Whether you are newly diagnosed or transferring care from another provider, we want you to feel welcome and well-supported with the UNMC HIV Program as your HIV medical home. We want you to know that you can live a long, healthy life with HIV and that you are not alone. 

Confidentiality

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. 

 Newly Diagnosed

If you have recently been diagnosed with HIV, the recommendation is that you have an appointment at our clinic 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 UNMC 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 roughly 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 are important parts of your care team. 

The largest part 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 pharmacist assistant will evaluate the cost of the medications and assist with any necessary steps to obtain them.

The Client Services Team are important members of your care team. 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 Client Services Team will help you understand and navigate the programs that help to alleviate the burden of paying for care. The UNMC HIV Program also offers a wide range of additional support services through the Ryan White Program, such as medical transportation assistance. 

Clinic nursing staff are also a part of your visit. The 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, you will go to the on-site where blood is drawn by the 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.