North Western Melbourne PHN is marking World AIDS Day on 1 December by committing to make HIV and AIDS a thing of the past in Melbourne.
Melbourne is a Fast Track City, a global network of cities committed to ending the global AIDS epidemic by 2030 through better awareness, prevention and access to treatment.
NWMPHN is supporting this goal by helping equip GPs and other primary health care professionals to play their part in cutting HIV infection rates in the community.
GPs need s100 prescriber status to be able to prescribe the anti-retroviral treatments which have been so successful in making HIV a chronic but manageable condition, rather than a potential death sentence. Out of the more than 8,000 GPs in Victoria only 57 currently hold this status for HIV drugs.
NWMPHN is partnering with the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Alfred Health and the Victorian PHN Alliance to run the new Victorian HIV Hepatitis Integrated Training and Learning (VHHITAL) program, which will deliver prescriber training and support to more GPs across Victoria.
Several prescriber courses are planned for next year, covering HIV drugs as well as those for Hepatitis B. These will be supplemented with introductory education and training for GPs and other primary care practitioners in the diagnosis, treatment and management of HIV.
“Primary care practitioners play a critical role in preventing, testing for and treating HIV,” NWMPHN CEO Associate Professor Christopher Carter said.
“VHHITAL will help ensure more GPs are able to play this role, improving access to care and health outcomes for the community.
“With the right support and training, and the new treatment and prevention tools we have, we can reach the goal of making HIV and AIDS a thing of the past in Melbourne.”