Features 10 To Your Health
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Features 10 To Your Health

 

Dr. Ali Harake has been practicing medicine since 1995 and is about to celebrate his 3rd anniversary in his current location at 1960 NE 47th Street #100 in Fort Lauderdale. Prior to Fort Lauderdale he practiced in Orlando, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Hollywood. Dr. Harake is the 2nd in our new series, To Your Health. It was a pleasure to sit down and interview this caring, giving doctor.

 

Dr Ali Harake

Dr. Ali Harake has been practicing medicine since 1995 and is about to celebrate his 3rd anniversary in his current location at 1960 NE 47th Street #100 in Fort Lauderdale. Prior to Fort Lauderdale he practiced in Orlando, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Hollywood. Dr. Harake is the 2nd in our new series, To Your Health. It was a pleasure to sit down and interview this caring, giving doctor.

 

What university did you attend?

 

I graduated from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon School of Medicine with an MD degree in 1992. I then did my internal medicine residency at State University of New York at Brooklyn Down State in 1995.

 

Where is your office located and what kind of medicine do you practice?

 

My office is next to Holy Cross Hospital. I do admit my patients mostly there and also I admit and have privileges at Imperial Point Medical Center and Broward General Hospital.

 

I do have lab on site, draw labs myself and do my own vitals. My office staff includes myself and Eddy, my partner, who takes care of appointments and occasionally helps with lab drawings.

 

I’m in the office all week Monday to Friday from 9 to 5 and if I’m busy with hospital rounds one day I can still blend my schedule and fit a sick patient who has an emergency to be seen in office that day. I can also see patients later than 5 pm if needed.

 

I practice internal medicine and HIV medicine. I administer Botox and Juvederm and also volunteer at the Sculptra program with Project Link to assist patients with lipoatrophy. Sculptra is a filler that is used to correct lipoatrophy changes from HIV drugs. This program has helped so many patients regain their confidence with their looks. I do charge a minor fee to administer.

 

What do you do if the patient doesn’t have insurance? What insurance do you accept?

 

We do accept major insurance plans such as BCBS, Aetna, Avmed, Humana, United, Best Choice, Cigna, Vista, Medicare, Medicaid and others. I don’t take Medicare HMO plans for now.

 

I also see self pays and try to work things out with them so they are able to afford the visit and labs, if needed, at discounted prices and have their health taken care of. I do work with one of the labs in the area that provide special low prices to patients who have no insurance.

 

What’s new in medicine in HIV?

 

HIV medicine is always evolving. Now we have the options to treat effectively, less pill burden and with minor side effects from the new classes of potent HIV drugs, a newer generation of existing classes and new classes on the go. It has become like any other chronic manageable disease instead of a deadly disease and becoming chronic. People don’t talk about it like they used to in the past.

 

As long as people take their meds, like a diabetic taking their insulin and hypertensives taking their blood pressure meds, their health will be fine. Hypertension can kill someone who does not take their medication (stroke, heart attack, etc.), so does HIV.

 

The question of when to start HIV treatment changes every year. I think the trend soon will be to treat everyone with HIV disease irrespective of the viral load and cell count so we can preserve the immune system and not let it get exhausted by the constant beating by HIV. Right now I tailor the treatment on an individual case by case basis. Compliance and willingness to start is a big factor.

 

Our hope is in finding a cure and a vaccine. We may be a long way away but that day will come eventually.

 

Do you feel people in general are practicing safe sex?

 

There is nothing called safe sex, in my opinion. Safe sex is “no sex.” There are risks in the actions we choose that range from minimal to high risks depending on the situation we are in.

 

Not only HIV, people can get Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, etc., even from oral sex, whether giving or receiving.

 

With the availability of potent HIV drugs out there, I sense reemergence of high risk sexual behaviors. People look at these drugs as a safe haven, but it’s not the case because we are talking about life changing if someone gets infected. Someone may say, “I can have high risk sex now and take an HIV pill to prevent sickness.” This is what’s called prophylaxis and may not work. Because you don’t know what HIV strain you’re dealing with, it may be multidrug resistant and there is a 30% failure rate with prophylaxis.

 

HIV has no age. Are you finding the younger generation being infected?

 

HIV affects all age groups and I see the younger generation in their twenties and the older generation in their 60s. For the latter, treatment becomes a challenge because of weaker immune systems as we age and existing co morbidities, which management might be impacted by HIV drugs.

 

What should we know about you that people don’t know?

 

I want people to know that I’m a regular guy and I try to do my best to provide patients with proper care, answer all their questions and concerns and take my time in listening to their issues. I give my email address to my patients so they can communicate with me for questions. Recently, Holy Cross awarded me a physician of the quarter award for good bedside manner and patient management. I am very happy as long as I know my care makes patients happy and satisfied.

 

Medicine changed and it’s becoming a hassle to practice with all the rules and regulations, paper work, insurances and low imbursements. I wanted to become my own boss so as to not be bothered by an employer and feel pressured to see a high number of patients in this period of time. Overall, I’m happy with my practice and it makes me happy to spend time and listen to my patients.

 

I like travel, music, gym, suspense and horror movies. At the end of the day, no matter how hard that day was, two words, “Thank you,” make my day. And my favorite saying is, “Live today as if it is your last.”

 

To Your Health – Dr. Max Zaslavsky

 

Upon sitting down with Dr. Max Zaslavsky we had an immediate bond, not only because of his inviting smile but because we both received our graduate degrees from the same university, and are also both from Brooklyn, NY. “Dr. Max” is friendly, charming, and easy to talk to, which are three key ingredients that are important when you are looking for a dentist. After chatting about our university days and growing up in the NY area, it was a pleasure to conduct this one on one interview with a dentist that truly cares about his patients.

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