London (12th September 2012)
BHIVA (The British HIV Association), the UK's leading association of HIV care professionals, is seeking views on new proposals for care for people with HIV in the UK.
The proposals include twelve crucial areas for care, including offering people an HIV test, defining what HIV care should be available through clinical services, and the involvement of people living with HIV in the design and delivery of care and how information should be collected.
A recent survey of BHIVA members revealed that more than half the respondents (60%) are concerned about the future quality of care for people living with HIV following the new NHS arrangements which come into force next spring.
These concerns together with the changing needs of people with HIV have prompted BHIVA to draft The British HIV Association Standards for the care of people living with HIV in 2012.
Launching the new proposals, Professor Jane Anderson, Chair of BHIVA said:
"We are at a crucial clinical and political juncture. Systemic reforms coming into effect in April 2013 bring a risk of fragmentation of a highly effective and cohesive area of medicine which would be a major setback in the UK response to HIV."
"BHIVA are developing these standards to set the benchmark for high quality HIV care in the UK. We know that one quarter of the estimated 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK is unaware that they are HIV positive and the numbers of people acquiring HIV within the UK continues to rise inexorably."
"Despite huge advances in antiretroviral therapy and improvement in clinical outcomes, HIV continues to be a highly significant clinical and public health issue for the UK. The numbers of people with HIV in the UK continues to rise and their needs are evolving."
BHIVA has also called on Ministers to appoint a clinical HIV champion to ensure that health and social care deliver a coherent and high quality response to HIV which matches these care standards.
Professor Jane Anderson continued:
"To secure the current high quality outcomes for HIV care, reduce new infections and reverse the current health inequalities associated with HIV, many different elements need to come together as a cohesive, well planned and executed programme that is both locally responsive and nationally appropriate. This needs an overarching understanding of the field together with strong leadership."
The British HIV Association Standards for the care of people living with HIV in 2012 are available on the BHIVA website.
Founded in 1995, BHIVA is the leading UK professional association representing professionals in HIV care.
BHIVA acts as a national advisory body to professions and other organisations on all aspects of HIV care. BHIVA also provides a national platform for HIV care and contributes representatives for international, national and local committees dealing with HIV care. In addition, BHIVA works to promote undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education within HIV care.
The current membership of the association is over 1,000 across a wide range of healthcare professionals and other HIV healthcare workers.