Article by Dr Matt Penn, GP from Richmond
Dr. Matt Penn, GP
Most new cases of HIV in Australia are diagnosed in primary care, and much of the person's care will also occur in primary care. HIV is a manageable chronic condition and with treatment, people are expected to have a near normal life expectancy.
The statewide HIV pathways will improve general practice capacity to screen, treat and manage HIV. Access HealthPathways Melbourne for:
- assessment and management advice, regarding monitoring and immunisations, on the Ongoing Management pathway
- the PrEP pathway for access to clinical guidelines and resources to help clinicians understand the relationship between viral load and HIV transmission and the relatively new concept of U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable)
- Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) advice for people who have experienced a recent high-risk exposure to HIV
- a Treatment and Support Services page providing information to HIV specialist services, multicultural resources, legal and financial resources, community-based support and advocacy groups.
The HIV pathways are not a guideline to treating HIV. The Australian Society for HIV and Viral Hepatitis Medicine (ASHM) provides courses for health professionals working in primary care who desire detailed information regarding the rapidly changing world of antiviral medication.
The pathways were created through a collaboration between HIV specialists from the Alfred HIV Service, specialist medical writers, HealthPathways Melbourne team from the Primary Health Networks, and HIV high case load general practitioners.
The Victorian HIV and Hepatitis Integrated Training and Learning (VHITTAL) program, have funded the development of the HIV pathways to improve general practice capacity to screen, treat and manage HIV. Goals of the project included providing clear information regarding who to screen for HIV, clinical syndromes associated with undiagnosed HIV, providing help with interpreting HIV tests, and referral pathways for newly diagnosed people.