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Tue & Thu: 8am - 6pm
Fri: 8am - 4pm
Phone: (868) 623-5834
Ask Our Doctors
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Commonly asked clinic questions, professional care and primary health concerns of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Click F.A.Q. topics below.
Q: I have just been diagnosed HIV Positive, what should I do next?
A: You need to join the clinic and be started on treatment. Click here for MRFTT clinic information
Q: Are there other HIV treatment sites in Trinidad and Tobago? A: Yes, MRFTT is one treatment site. Click here for a list of the other treatment sites.
Q: What should I bring to my first MRFTT appointment?
A: Bring your ID card, test result as well as any x-rays, referrals, medications and that you are currently using.
Q: How much do I have to pay for the services at MRFTT?
A: All services are free-you do NOT have to pay for visits, bloods or medication.
Q: I am not a Trinidadian, but I am HIV Positive, can I join your clinic?
A: Yes you can. If available, bring your result or doctor’s letter and any medication you are using.
Q: What can I expect on my first visit?
A: You will be seen by doctors and nurses, have blood investigations, weight, urinalysis and be offered Anti-retroviral medication. Counselling services are also available for you and your family members.
Q: I missed my appointment. What should I do?
A: You must try to keep your appointments, however, if you missed an appointment, call the clinic and you will be re-scheduled.
Q: I lost my appointment card, can I still return to clinic?
A: Yes. Even if you lost your appointment card, you can return to clinic. Check here for clinic information.
Q: Where else in the country can I get tested for HIV?
A: Click here for a list of other HIV testing sites in Trinidad and Tobago If the cavity isn’t repaired, this cavity will continue to expand—eventually entering into your nerve canal. This can be excruciatingly painful. However, it can also lead to dire problems such as abscess or infection. Replacing old fillings or fixing chipped teeth can also be required. The most important reason to fix your cavity early on is to avoid a painful and costly root canal.
Q: What is Anti-retroviral medication?
A: Anti-retroviral medication is a combination therapy that is used so you can remain healthy and live a long life. You cannot be cured of the virus, but Anti-retroviral medication will keep the HIV under control so you can remain healthy
Q: How long will I have to take medication?
A: Anti-retroviral medication is lifelong because when the medication gets the HIV under control, it has to keep it under control. You therefore have to take medication for the rest of your life.
Q: What happens if I stop using the Anti-retroviral medication?
A: You must never stop taking medication or miss doses, because if you do, the virus will become resistant to the Anti-retroviral medications and they won’t work as well to keep you healthy.
Q: What is a Viral load?
A: A Viral load is a blood test that measures the amount of HIV in a small sample of blood.
Q: When I first came, I was told my Viral Load was high and now it’s undetectable. What does this mean?
A: An undetectable Viral load means the Anti-retroviral medication is working well and the virus is under control in your body.
Q: Can I stop using my Anti-retroviral medication if my Viral Load is undetectable?
A: No. You must never stop taking your medication. If your viral load is undetectable that means the virus is under control. Remember, the virus will always be in your body. Anti-retroviral medications keep the amount of the virus in small amounts and allows you to remain healthy, so you must always take your medication.
Q: Would I get side effects from the medication?
A: Side effects are possible with any medication. Your health care providers would counsel you about the medication and let you know of possible side effects. Even if side effects do occur, they are often temporary. You are encouraged to talk to your health care provider about concerns regarding Anti-retroviral medication
Q: If I test positive for HIV, would I be able to live a normal life?
A: Yes you can! HIV is a chronic, but manageable illness. You would have to make some changes and you would have to take medication every day for the rest of your life, however, when taken correctly, Anti-retroviral medication would allow you to live a long and healthy life. You should always take your medication correctly, keep your appointments and follow the advice of the health care providers.
Q: What does U=U stand for?
A: U=U means Undetectable equals Untransmittable. It means if your viral load is undetectable you will not pass the HIV virus to your partner during unprotected sex.
Q: What does an UNDETECTABLE viral load mean?
A: An undetectable viral load means there is a very small amount of virus in your blood sample; therefore, overall, you have a very small amount of HIV in your body.
Q: How can I keep my virus undetectable?
A: The ONLY way to keep your virus undetectable is to take your HIV medication every single day without missing any doses.
Q: How will I know if my HIV is not under control?
A: Your viral load result will show increasing levels of the virus.
Q: How often will my viral load be checked?
A: Your viral load will be checked every 6 months.
Q: If U=U, does that mean I can breastfeed?
A: NO! U=U was developed based on studies of persons who were sexually active. It does not support breastfeeding. You must follow the guidelines given by the health care staff to safeguard your baby from developing HIV.
Q: If my partner’s viral load is undetectable now, but I know he/she is not taking medication 100% correctly, am I at risk of getting infected with HIV?
A: It is possible your partner’s virus will start to increase if Anti-retroviral medication is not being taken correctly. If his virus goes from being undetectable to detectable, then you will be at risk for contracting HIV if you have unprotected sex.
Q: Does U=U work for MSM couples?
A: Yes, U=U has been shown to useful in MSM couples.
Q: If my partner who is HIV positive has not had a viral load test in over a year, and I know he misses medication, could I get HIV from him if we have unprotected sex?
A: Yes, there is a possibility that your partner’s HIV is not under control, in which case you could get HIV during unprotected sex.
Q: How does HIV medication work?
A: HIV medication cannot cure the virus, but it will get it under control and then keep it under control. When the virus is in small amounts in the body, your body will be healthy and you will not be able to pass the virus to your partner.
Q: Which are the U=U studies?
A: The U=U studies were the HPTN 052, PARTNER and Opposites Attract studies. These studies followed heterosexual and MSM couples in where one partner was HIV positive and one partner was HIV negative. The HIV positive partner was correctly using HIV meds and was virally suppressed. During the studies, none of the HIV negative partners contracted HIV from their HIV positive partners. This therefore led to evidence that U=U.
Q: How long after I start taking my HIV meds will my viral load become undetectable?
A Your viral load will be checked 6 months after you start taking your HIV meds to determine of your viral load is undetectable.
Q: If my partner starts using HIV meds tonight, how long before it is safe for us to be U=U?
A: Your partner’s viral load will be checked in 6months to determine of it is undetectable. Until that time, your partner should use condoms.
Q: Are condoms available at MRFTT?
A: Yes! Condoms are available free of charge. Ask for a supply at the pharmacy or ask your Health care provider.
Q: Can someone get HIV from me if they use the same dishes or use the same toilet?
A: No. HIV is not spread by casual contact. You cannot get HIV from using the same dishes, eating food from them, using the same toilet or hugging.
Q: I just found out that I am HIV Positive and pregnant…what should I do?
A: You must join an HIV treatment clinic immediately. Click here for a list of HIV treatments and care sites.
Q:I am attending an HIV clinic, on Anti-retroviral medication and just found out I am pregnant.Do I need to inform the staff?
A:Yes! It is extremely important that you contact your clinic and inform a doctor or nurse that you are pregnant. There are special tests and counselling that must be done to protect your baby from contracting HIV.
Q: I am HIV Positive. Can my baby get HIV from me?
A: It is very important for you to join an HIV Treatment and Care clinic so all necessary measures can be taken to protect your baby from contracting HIV from you. You MUST use Anti-retroviral medication in pregnancy, you MUST have frequent Viral load monitoring, you MUST give your baby important medication after birth, you MUST have your baby tested and you MUST NOT breastfeed.
Q:I am HIV Positive. Can I breastfeed my baby?
A: NO! In policy in Trinidad and Tobago is that you MUST NOT breastfeed. HIV is found in breastmilk and can put your baby at additional risk. You will be given monthly supplies of baby formula to support you as you do not breastfeed your baby.
Q: Should I inform my partner of my HIV status?
A:Yes. Your partner should be informed so he/she can have the opportunity to make informed choices. Your partner would also have to be tested for HIV.
Q:I want to tell someone I trust about my HIV diagnosis but I am scared. Can you help me?
A: Yes. You should discuss your concerns with a health care provider at clinic. You will be counselled and if necessary assisted with disclosure to the person of your choice.
Q: Can my partner be tested at MRFTT?
A: Yes, your partner can be tested at MRFTT. Please ask for this service or call and make an appointment for the test.
Q:I want to tell my partner of my HIV diagnosis but I am scared because he/she becomes violent. What should I do?
A: You should discuss these concerns with your health care provider and together come up with a safe way to address your concerns.