UVA Ryan White Clinic Overview: What Patients Can Expect

Certainly, people living with
HIV face a lot of issues. First and foremost are medical. And fortunately,
their medical issues remain complicated, but
are very manageable. HIV is a chronic disease,
just like high blood pressure. If people manage to
properly, they’ll live into their 80s or 90s. Our clinic is located
in the West Complex and we are really pleased to
have a very accessible clinic that has adjacent
parking, and an entrance directly onto Hospital Drive. The principles of
this clinic are to be welcoming from the
moment that someone arrives. The receptionist that
we have are tremendous, and are very attuned to
the kinds of experiences that people may be having. And one of the most important
aspects of their welcome is that it is very confidential. I usually try to make
everybody feel at home. So I usually tell them
that it’s nice to meet you, I know you for who you are
from this moment forward. Whatever happened in
the past doesn’t matter. And that I want to get
to be like your family away from home,
because we’ll get to see each other every
three to six months. So I want to know
you personally, besides you being just
another number to us. I get the patients
ready to see the doctor. So I take them back, do a full
set of vital signs on them. Blood pressure pulse,
respirations, and temperature. And go for their medication
and allergies with them, and ask them a couple
other questions to get them ready
for the doctor. It really is very
much a one-stop shop. And so we have people with a
lot of different expertises that actually come together,
because the mission is important for everyone
that works here– whether it’s a staff, whether
it’s a faculty, whether it’s a patient. All people that come
through this clinic, no matter what side of
the exam table you are on, feel invested in making
this an experience that actually changes lives. We will meet you where you are. So whatever makes
you comfortable, however it makes you
comfortable to come to clinic. I’ve gone outside
and met people so that they know a familiar
face, and to explain what the clinic is. And we will do anything to get
a person in and comfortable in care. We typically will have several
different clinicians, meaning maybe a nurse, a doctor,
and a psychologist who will all see a patients on
a particular day’s visit. And so the patient will
get a lot of chances to talk to different
people who are specialists in different
areas that concern them. And my experience
in the clinic is that everyone is really
committed to helping that person live
their best life. We have a great
team in this clinic and around the state of Virginia
that makes sure that no one is denied care for HIV. So from a medical
perspective, we’re really pleased that
as a team, we’re able to provide people
with the care they need. And it’s not second
class or third-tier care, this is top of the line
medications and treatment that people need to be
able to live well with HIV. Because of the generosity of
the federal programs and state programs, virtually
everyone gets that care in an affordable way. So I wouldn’t want anyone to
feel they have to stay away. It’s really the
best of both worlds because we have
[INAUDIBLE] the clinic. It really does
feel like a family. The providers, and the
staff, and the patients together, I feel like
we all are a group of people who are working
toward a common goal. And it’s a very select
group with people who are infected with a
certain disease, or people or who are interested in
managing those people. The success of any
medical treatment is based on the
individual’s participation in that treatment. And so we really encourage
people to buy in, to own their treatment, and
to be an active participant in that, and to feel
as if they have a seat at the table, an equal seat. And we want them to
participate actively. Human suffering
isn’t always medical. It’s social, it’s
psychological, it’s cognitive. And by really addressing all
of the elements of the illness process, I think the quality
of life that people can expect is much higher. And so not only are
people surviving the disease, the illness,
they’re actually thriving, despite having HIV. And I think what’s really
fascinating is that it really becomes part of the background
noise of one’s life, instead of a primary
identifying factor in how people look at themselves. It’s just an element,
it’s not a defining force. It’s exciting to see people
come to the clinic who are sick or who are fearful, and to
see, over a period of sometimes months or even just
a few years, see them restored to health,
returning to work, looking healthy, feeling
healthy, and in some ways, forgetting about the HIV and
moving on with their lives. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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