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August 2009
Vol. 19 No. 8
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IDSA/HIVMA Issue New Primary Care Guidelines for HIV

Updated guidelines from IDSA and the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) highlight the challenging primary care needs of those living with HIV infection, many of whom are living longer because of advances in treatment. Last published in 2004, the guidelines appear in the Sept. 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases and are available online.

Among the changes, the evidence-based guidance outlines recommended screening tests for conditions that also affect the general population. “While improvements in antiretroviral therapy have improved the prognosis for many HIV patients, data from recent studies suggest those living with HIV are at higher risk for developing common health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer,” said Judith A. Aberg, MD, FIDSA, lead author of the new guidelines. “Now more than ever, it’s imperative that HIV care providers be aware of the primary care needs of their patients, and that includes routine screening for these kinds of conditions.”

Information about recommended immunizations, along with dose and regimen details for HIV patients, is provided as well. Formatting changes will help readers search the guidelines more easily, with specific clinical questions beginning each section, followed by numbered recommendations and a brief evidence-based summary, said Dr. Aberg, director of virology at New York University School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City.

Other notable changes in the new guidelines include an expanded list of diagnostic HIV tests, tables on immunization and routine follow-up primary care, and updates of recommendations based on other HIV-related guidelines that have also been recently revised. In addition, the guidelines emphasize the importance of patients adhering to a comprehensive program of care rather than focusing solely on a medication regimen.

“For people living with HIV, it’s not just about adherence to medication, it’s also about adherence to care,” Dr. Aberg said. “These patients must have access to a range of services to help them stay engaged in their medical care and should receive the regular monitoring and medical attention this chronic infection demands.” 

The guideline is available online. Other IDSA guidelines als are available on the Standards, Practice Guidelines, and Statements page of our website.
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