HIV in practice: current approaches and challenges in the diagnosis, treatment and management of HIV infection in Australia

D. E. Smith, I. J. Woolley, D. B. Russell, F. Bisshop, V. Furner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

As treatment improves, people living with HIV (PLWHIV) can now expect to live longer, which means that the foci of HIV-related care for them and their medical practitioners continue to change. With an increasingly older cohort of patients with HIV infection, practitioners’ key considerations are shifting from issues of acute treatment and patient survival to multiple comorbidities, toxicities associated with chronic therapy, and ongoing health maintenance. Within this context, this paper explores the current standard of practice for the management of HIV infection in Australia. We surveyed 56 Australian practitioners currently involved in managing HIV infection: ‘HIV section 100’ (HIV therapy-prescribing) general practitioners (s100 GPs; n = 26), sexual health physicians (SHPs; n = 24) and hospital-based physicians (HBPs; n = 6). Survey results for practice approaches and challenges were broadly consistent across the three practitioner specialties, apart from a few key areas. s100 GPs reported less prophylaxis use among patients whom they deemed at risk of HIV infection in comparison with SHPs, which may reflect differences in patient populations. Further, a higher proportion of s100 GPs nominated older HIV treatment regimens as their preferred therapy choices compared with the other specialties. In contrast with SHPs, s100 GPs were less likely to switch HIV therapies to simplify the treatment protocol, and to immediately initiate treatment upon patient request in those newly diagnosed with HIV infection. Considerably lower levels of satisfaction with current HIV practice guidelines were also reported by s100 GPs. It appears that greater support for s100 GPs may be needed to address these identified challenges and enhance approaches to HIV practice. Across all specialties, increasing access to mental health services for patients with HIV infection was reported as a key management issue. A renewed focus on providing improved mental health and wellbeing supports is recommended, particularly in the face of an ageing HIV-infected population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-23
Number of pages19
JournalHIV Medicine
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • Australia
  • diagnosis
  • general practice
  • HIV
  • management
  • sexual health
  • treatment

Cite this

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title = "HIV in practice: current approaches and challenges in the diagnosis, treatment and management of HIV infection in Australia",
abstract = "As treatment improves, people living with HIV (PLWHIV) can now expect to live longer, which means that the foci of HIV-related care for them and their medical practitioners continue to change. With an increasingly older cohort of patients with HIV infection, practitioners’ key considerations are shifting from issues of acute treatment and patient survival to multiple comorbidities, toxicities associated with chronic therapy, and ongoing health maintenance. Within this context, this paper explores the current standard of practice for the management of HIV infection in Australia. We surveyed 56 Australian practitioners currently involved in managing HIV infection: ‘HIV section 100’ (HIV therapy-prescribing) general practitioners (s100 GPs; n = 26), sexual health physicians (SHPs; n = 24) and hospital-based physicians (HBPs; n = 6). Survey results for practice approaches and challenges were broadly consistent across the three practitioner specialties, apart from a few key areas. s100 GPs reported less prophylaxis use among patients whom they deemed at risk of HIV infection in comparison with SHPs, which may reflect differences in patient populations. Further, a higher proportion of s100 GPs nominated older HIV treatment regimens as their preferred therapy choices compared with the other specialties. In contrast with SHPs, s100 GPs were less likely to switch HIV therapies to simplify the treatment protocol, and to immediately initiate treatment upon patient request in those newly diagnosed with HIV infection. Considerably lower levels of satisfaction with current HIV practice guidelines were also reported by s100 GPs. It appears that greater support for s100 GPs may be needed to address these identified challenges and enhance approaches to HIV practice. Across all specialties, increasing access to mental health services for patients with HIV infection was reported as a key management issue. A renewed focus on providing improved mental health and wellbeing supports is recommended, particularly in the face of an ageing HIV-infected population.",
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HIV in practice : current approaches and challenges in the diagnosis, treatment and management of HIV infection in Australia. / Smith, D. E.; Woolley, I. J.; Russell, D. B.; Bisshop, F.; Furner, V.

In: HIV Medicine, Vol. 19, 01.08.2018, p. 5-23.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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