Delivering a Healthy WA
Disease WAtch

Moves to help GPs manage patients with HIV infection

The number of people living with HIV in Western Australia is continuing to rise. This is due partly to advances in treatment (with HIV now being largely managed as a chronic condition) but also an increasing number of people in the community being diagnosed with HIV.

A WA HIV Shared Care Working Group was established by the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine recently to address the growing HIV health workforce requirements. The working group is exploring models to increase general practitioner involvement in the management of people living with HIV.

HIV antiretrovirals are listed under section 100 of the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits which means they can be initiated only by a hospital specialist service or accredited community s100 Prescriber. One model being considered enhances linkages between specialist clinics and general practice.

The WA Department of Health supports a HIV Time of Diagnosis project. The project provides general practitioners making a new HIV diagnosis with direct telephone access to a HIV specialist. This mentoring is designed for GPs who have never made – or rarely make – a positive HIV diagnosis. GPs with HIV positive patients are also offered introductory level training in HIV medicine.

More information (external site) is available for GPs interested in attending an introductory HIV training course or in the mentoring support service. GPs can also email or telephone Liza Doyle , telephone 02 820 40700.

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