Going into hospital

My experiences of hospitalisation are mixed. I’ve been admitted twice in the last six months, both times for a minor operation. However, following the excellent standards of care I’ve received at my HIV clinic, I was surprised by my treatment as an inpatient on a general surgery ward.

Before my first operation, my care was exemplary. I attended a pre-surgical outpatient appointment, when I met the surgeon and was examined in preparation for the anaesthetic. On the day of the procedure, a steady stream of nurses, surgeons and anaesthetists visited me on the ward to take information, explain what was going to happen and give me the opportunity to ask any questions.

However, these standards were not maintained once I was back on the ward. It was clear that the nurses were too stretched to offer any care beyond rushing by the bed with the next paper cup of tablets. And as the day wore on, it became obvious that the surgeon was not planning to visit his patients to explain how their procedures had gone, or what to expect over the next few weeks – in my case, the worst pain I have ever experienced.

I was left feeling deeply frustrated. On top of that, I was only told at the last moment that I would have to remain on the ward for three days, rather than being able to go home that evening as promised.

Despite the lack of information, which I do not blame on the staff themselves but on the organisation of the hospital, I was pleasantly surprised by their attitude towards my HIV status (and low CD4 count) and daily visits from my gay partner – although the same could not be said for the other men in the ward, most of whom were over twice my age. I also found the hospital routine less dull than I had imagined – the meals were reasonable, if a little early, and I managed to catch up with some reading and complete a couple of newspaper crosswords. I even popped out for a few pints one evening, with the encouragement of the nurses.

But I came away with a deep resentment of the apparent lack of interest in my needs or wishes after my procedure. Although it is not in my nature, I made an active decision to make a fuss on my second admission, demanding the answers to questions about my treatment and care and questioning the doctors’ decisions. This made the experience far more successful and satisfying. Nevertheless, I still left without the promised post-surgical visit from the surgeon, and even without the correct supply of drugs. I eventually saw the surgeon two months later, and was finally given some information about my procedure.

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Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

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We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap
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This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.