Dr. Loveless will be writing a quarterly article on various topics in Infectious Disease.
We hope you find "Our Blog", not only interesting, but informative.


Thomas J. Loveless, MSN, CRNP, PhD graduated from Thomas Jefferson University College of Nursing in 2002, where he completed his BSN and MSN. He completed his post-masters in Nursing Education and Curriculum design from Thomas Jefferson University College of Nursing in 2006.

He completed his PhD in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2013.


He is Board Certified as an Adult Primary Care Nurse Practitioner through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and has an active practice in caring for and counseling HIV patients.


  

Greetings Friends and Colleagues – It’s that time of year again and the Holidays are here!

This is a perfect time to get caught up and offers tips for the winter season.  So - let’s begin.

First – remember December 1st is World Aids Day.  We continue to collaborate with the Family Services of Bucks County.  We have agreed to donate to them any proceeds we receive from folks interested in purchasing a symbolic red lapel ribbon.  Did you know that Red Ribbon was first worn publicly by Jeremy Irons at the 1991 Tony Awards, the ribbon soon became renowned as an international symbol of AIDS Awareness.  The Red Ribbon continues to be a powerful force in the fight to increase public awareness of HIV/AIDS and in the lobbying efforts to increase funding for AIDS services and research.  Join us in this small gesture that carries insurmountable meaning!  You can purchase the Red Ribbon from any staff member at our practice.


Next, this is the perfect time to remind you about the flu season, the importance of getting your influenza  vaccination, and all the simple things you can do to stay well during the winter months.   First and foremost – get your flu vaccination.  All folks – six months or older – should get the flu vaccination.  We are here to help if you need a flu vaccination- just ask! 

If you happen to live with HIV, these precautions are especially important.  According to the CDC, the peak flu season is from November through March. People at high risk of flu complications include young children, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions such as HIV, asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

Believe it or not, one of the simplest things we can do – which is often overlooked – is straight up – good ole’ fashioned hand washing.  If soap and water is not readily available – then try simple alcohol-based hand washes available at a host of stores. 

Also, avoid sick people.  If you are ill feeling – then stay home. Cover your nose and mouth if you sneeze, but don’t use your hand! If you don’t have a tissue, it is best to use your arm. This way, you do not spread your germs to others before you get a chance to wash your hand. You might be surprised to see how many folks do this- that is- if you pay attention. They cover their nose with their hand and then touch the elevator button, the handrail on a staircase or escalator or even shake hands with others before washing their hand.

If you are feeling ill, please contact us, or your primary care provider.  It is especially important that care is not delayed.  We can prescribe antiviral medications known to lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia.


A next topic of interest – medical marijuana.  A hot topic nowadays but one worthy of discussion.  This was signed into PA law on April 17, 2016 and is now in full effect.  It’s goals are to provide safe and legal access to medical marijuana for select patients with medical conditions deemed as “serious” by the Commonwealth.  Did you know if you happen to live with HIV, that diagnosis alone is an approved medical diagnosis to support the use of medical marijuana?  Other examples include epilepsy, glaucoma, and Parkinson’s Disease.   Actually, there are 21 listed approved diseases that might qualify.  You can find that list at: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/programs/Medical%20Marijuana/Pages/Patients.aspx


So- don’t delay getting your questions about medical marijuana answered.  It’s as simple as a phone call to start.  You can locate a list of approved medical providers positioned to help answer your questions about the appropriateness of medical marijuana:

https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/Documents/Programs/Medical%20Marijuana/DOH%20Approved%20Practitioners.pdf


Another important reminder.  We continue to work very hard at meeting all the State and Federal Regulations and those sanctioned by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Infectious Disease Society of America that align the rules and regulations of safe, and effective medical practice.   Others such as the Panel on Antiretrovial Guidelines and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have also cast opinions. These regulations construct guidelines for us to follow, on the regularity of medical surveillance and the responsibilities of both the patient and us, as the providers of HIV care.  This means maintaining strict surveillance with us, as deemed necessary by your diagnosis.  The goals are attention to risks stratification for physical exams, surveillance labs, and the justification for writing and rewriting prescriptions.  The frequency of labs coupled with the frequency of visits, remains under strict guidelines. 


For example, and according to the CDC, folks living with HIV are at risk for many medical changes – that can happen out of no where. Not only about the control of HIV, but, in considerations of kidney, liver, and bone health.  Thus, folks living with HIV need updated labs and appointments at minimum every 3 months.  In some case’s 4 months, and in others maybe every 6 months.  However, six months is an exception, and is the absolute longest interval in between appointments and labs- and this is for a very small select amount folks that are 100% adherent to daily medications and have consistently demonstrated a suppressed viral load and stable immunologic status for more than 2 years.  Take then for example, if you are seen only every 6 months, and you miss your biannual appointment, so much can happen in the intervening 12 months, that’s its unsafe and simply not practical to expect continued medications. It’s not safe, it’s not right, and we simply cannot do it.


As a professional corporation whose aim is perfect medicine, we too know Big Brother is watching everything we do, and every prescription we write.  As such, we have updated our practice to include contracts with all of our patients that essentially says they believe in our goals for their wellness, and the importance of keeping scheduled appointments.  We know life happens and occasionally an appointment might be missed, but habitual offenders of missed appointments conflict with our goals for your wellness, and in those cases its often more suited to seek care at a site more aligned with your own wellness mission.


We believe in our patients, and we are dedicated to their wellness.  We aim for them to feel empowered and we offer very doable goals so that everyone stays incredibly well and that HIV is the least complicated thing in their life.  We invite you to talk with us about how you imagine your wellness trajectory, and what we need to do as a team to make certain you live to be 100.


I hope these tips are meaningful to you.  As we now celebrate the upcoming holidays, all of us at IDA wish you a beautiful holiday season. No matter what you celebrate or what is meaningful to you and your family, peace and joy are common themes we can all embrace. 

And with that – we wish you family – love- peace and joy- at a time when the world needs much of this.  Stay well one and all – lets ring in the new year with smiles on our faces, and exciting goals for staying well in 2019.

Sincerely,


Dr. Thomas J. Loveless