Inadequacies Identified in HIV Health Care Provision

April 12, 2011

The health system is inadequately prepared for the challenges of addressing the health needs of HIV-positive individuals, according to the report "HIV Screening and Access to Care," published online March 17 by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

TUESDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- The health system is inadequately prepared for the challenges of addressing the health needs of HIV-positive individuals, according to the report "HIV Screening and Access to Care," published online March 17 by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Paul D. Cleary, Ph.D., from the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues from the committee on HIV Screening and Access to Care evaluated the current capacity of the health care system to accommodate newly diagnosed HIV-positive individuals into care.

The committee found that increased HIV testing initiatives have led to more HIV-positive diagnoses and more individuals requiring care; as a result, the health care system is increasingly unable to meet these requirements. They also found that ageing and retiring HIV health care providers are not being replaced, with only a small number of new providers specializing in HIV care. Serious inadequacies were also found in HIV-care training, especially practical experience in outpatient settings, where most routine care occurs. The committee suggests that strategies, such as task-shifting, co-management, care coordination, and integrated delivery systems should be implemented to increase the supply of HIV-trained providers.

"Regardless of the approach taken, the committee was impressed by the urgency of addressing these HIV/AIDS care capacity issues. With each additional HIV infection detected, the care system inherits a responsibility to counsel, refer, treat, and monitor an additional patient," the authors write.

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