Routine physicals are key to helping you stay healthy and identify early problems when they are treatable. You will feel more comfortable talking with your doctor and develop a doctor-patient relationship.
Routine medical visits, usually every three months to complete physicals, can:
- Prevent health problems
- Save you money and time/No long waiting time in the ER
- Establish baselines. This helps your doctor diagnose you early or measure any of your health’s subsequent progression or regression.
- Create a good relationship with your doctor. This can help you get to know your doctor and feel more comfortable talking with him or her about your health and concerns.
What are some of the prevention screenings that I need?
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If at risk (family history, personal history or older than 50)
Colon cancer can be detected early in a highly treatable stage. Why wait as it spreads? It's recommended to get a colonoscopy starting at age 50.
During your visit to get a colonoscopy, your doctor will:
- Use a camera to scan your colon for cancerous polyps.
If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or if polyps are found, it's highly recommended you get this screening done early.
Early detection of breast cancer can be possible due to screening mammograms. With an early detection, treatment can be started earlier in the course of the disease, possibly before it has spread. A mammogram is a special X-ray of your breast. Women age 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 to 2 years.
More on Mammograms
This is used to detect abnormal cells in your anal skin that might become cancerous. This is the anal version of the cervical Pap smear. This test it always recommended especially if you have anogenital warts caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
During your visit for your Anal Pap test, your doctor will:
- Collect a sample of cells from your anus and rectum using a small swap (like a small Q-tip).
Cervical cancer can be detected early by getting a Cervical Pap test. If detected early, your doctor can start treatment right away, preventing it from spreading. Women who are HIV+ have a higher risk for cervical cancer.
During your cervical Pap test, your doctor will:
- Insert a speculum into your vagina, which spreads the vagina open.
- Collect a cell sample from your cervix by scraping it with a spatula.
Every 6 months
It's recommended that you visit your dentist every 6 months for good oral health. In your visit, your dentist:
- Checks the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue
- Checks for problems that you might not see or feel
- Finds early signs of decay
- Treats oral health problems early, while they are still manageable
More on Dental Services
Every 3 to 4 months if sexually active.
An early detection of an STD, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis, can reduce your chances of developing cervical cancer, warts or infertility. Getting an STD test is easy. Your doctor will:
- Collect urine or draw a blood sample
- Examine the affected areas, as needed
An early detection of Hepatitis C or B can prevent major damage to your liver, cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. During your visit to get screened for Hepatitis, your doctor will:
When you have HIV/AIDS, your immune system no longer operates at 100 percent. Your risk of acquiring different types of infections is higher. However, you could benefit greatly from immunization against preventable infections. Recommended vaccines are:
- Hepatitis B virus (3 shots)
- Influenza - (Yearly)
- Polysaccharide pneumococcal - Pneumonia (Every 5 years)
- Tetanus and Diphtheria Toxoid (Td) - Lockjaw & Diphtheria ( Every 10 years)
- Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap) - Lockjaw, Diphtheria & Pertussis
- Hepatitis A virus (HAV) (2 shots)
- Hepatitis A/Hepatitis B combined vaccine (Twinrix) - Hepatitis A & B (3 shots)
CDC Vaccine Research and Trials
Based on recommendation from your doctor.
Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in patients with HIV and is associated with an increased risk of disease progression. This deficiency can be detected and treated. Early detection of vitamin D deficiency and treatment can help you maintain strong bones, strengthen your immune system and maintain healthy body weight. During your visit, your doctor will:
- Measure the levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in your blood
Based on recommendation from your doctor
Your bone mass can be reduced by HIV. Visiting your doctor to get your bone mass density measured can help you prevent bone-related conditions, such as osteoporosis and fractures. During your visit to get your bone mass measured, your doctor will:
- Perform a Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), which is the typical technology used to measure BMD. The DEXA X-ray will measure your BMD in your spine, hip and forearm. This scan doesn’t hurt.
HIV+ people have an increased risk of developing heart disease, especially coronary artery disease (CAD). Having regular heart checkups could prevent chest pain and possibly a heart attack. During your visit, your doctor will:
- Measure your lipids and blood pressure
- Discuss aspirin use or do an EKG
- Recommend you stop smoking
HIV+ people are at increased risk of developing skin cancer. An early diagnosis can improve your skin condition and perhaps cure it. During your screening, your doctor will:
- Examine your skin
- Perform a biopsy, if needed, where he/she will remove a small piece of tissue or sample cell to analyze it in a laboratory.
Tuberculosis is an opportunistic infection observed frequently among HIV+ people. Early TB diagnoses and treatment can help you stop or minimize the disease progression. It can also give you the opportunity to live longer and improve your quality of life. During your visit, your doctor will:
- Inject a small amount of fluid called tuberculin into your arm skin to observe how it reacts, or
- Draw blood to check if your body has a non-active version of the infection.
Regardless of your age or physical health, eye examinations are an important part of your health maintenance. You should have your eyes tested to identify any risk for vision problems, keep your prescription current or to detect any eye disease.