So many times, I see patients who have sought me out after experiencing symptoms of herpes for the first time. They are scared and often misinformed or poorly informed.
My goal during our visits is to provide them with reassurance, correct information and excellent medical care for their genital herpes, but also for their overall sexual and general health.
Most of my new herpes patients are young and in good health and, other than a gynecologist for annual screening or their former pediatrician for shots, haven't had the need to see a doctor.
Many times they are new to my town and just happened upon my practice or were referred by a friend. Other times, they get my name from the directory provided by their insurer. Others just walk-in.
Any way they come, I'm happy and honored to help. But for those of you looking for a health care provider to care for you, here are a few things to look for.
- Someone who treats herpes patients. You do not want to see a practitioner who rarely if ever treats genital herpes. You want some one up to date on the latest research and treatments, not some one who will tell you that you can't transmit the disease if you don't have an outbreak (you can, by the way!)
- Someone you can see soon. If you are having what you think is a herpes outbreak - or any acute medical problem, you don't need to be told that you can see a health care provider in a month.
- Someone you can talk to. You want to feel comfortable with your health care provider. No question is irrelevant or silly and you should NEVER be made to feel that way.
- Someone who will perform specific testing to diagnose the presence of herpes and the type of herpes, not just look at your lesion and guess.
- Someone who will do a full evaluation of your symptoms including a pelvic and genital exam to rule out other causes of the symptoms.
In addition to these guidelines, you might want to add a few criteria of your own.
Now, how do you find the right doctor?
First, check with your health insurance plan. They keep a list of doctors in your area that you may want to see. Alternatively, you can get a referral from a person you trust. Also, there are several trustworthy online resources you can consult. Here are a few:
American Medical Association Doctor Finder: http://webapps.ama-assn.org/doctorfinder/home.html?aps/amahg.htm
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