Frontline HIV Practitioners Respond to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 AIDS/HIV News
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American Academy of HIV Medicine Warns That Plan Implementation Will Depend on Adequate HIV Workforce

WASHINGTON, July 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM) today applauded the first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy, acknowledging the enormous effort and dedication by the executive branch, Jeffrey Crowley, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, and his staff.

"We hope the National Strategy will have the impact needed to turn the tide on the domestic epidemic," said James A. Friedman, executive director of AAHIVM. "HIV care providers in the U.S. have been on the frontlines of the fight against HIV/AIDS for three decades. We are pleased to finally see the U.S. government yield a formal strategy to the fight."

However, AAHIVM warned that proper implementation of the Strategy will be difficult without a more specific and detailed plan for supporting and growing the HIV workforce. While the Strategy adequately addresses the critical need for increasing the number of HIV care providers and offers solid ideas for growing the workforce, the recommended actions lack specific next steps and established goals.

"The White House has shown unprecedented leadership in addressing the domestic HIV epidemic, with essential goals of linking more HIV patients to proper care," Friedman stated. "However, without more trained HIV providers, a patient may find an empty office at the end of this strategic roadmap."

In December of 2009, the American Academy of HIV Medicine submitted a set of policy recommendations for the National Strategy to the White House. Included in that document, were recommendations to bolster the U.S. workforce through tuition incentives and training opportunities in HIV care, increased reimbursement rates for HIV providers services, better coordination among government bodies that oversee and fund HIV providers, encouragement of health technologies, innovative research, and routine HIV testing.

The Strategy echoes the need for initiatives such as health professional training grants and financial incentives to compensate for HIV care management, but stops shy of outlining actual plans for implementing these types of provider programs. Also, unlike many of the other sections of the Strategy, the workforce section does not list anticipated results for 2015.

"So much of this strategy depends on an adequate supply of well trained practitioners," Friedman said. "Yet the implementation plan contains no quantified targets for replacing the nearly 1/3 of HIV practitioners who plan to retire over the coming decade. It's our hope that all the excellent workforce ideas included in the Strategy will be well underway by 2015, bringing qualified care providers to HIV patients nationwide."

ABOUT AAHIVM

The American Academy of HIV Medicine is a professional organization that supports the HIV practitioner and promotes accessible, quality care for all Americans living with HIV disease. Our membership of HIV practitioners, credentialed HIV Specialists and HIV Experts provide direct care to more than three-fourths of HIV patients in the US.

SOURCE American Academy of HIV Medicine


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