Increasing demand for community treatment information services
The treatment information services provided by HIV i-Base and their use over the last year, were covered in a presentation Robin Jakob.
i-Base aims to enable HIV positive people to take an active role in their health care by providing up to date information, in non-technical language, using various formats.
Jakob reviewed the ways in which HIV positive people can contact i-Base with specific treatment and health related questions. These include a free-to-call phone line, an email service and an online Q&A forum on the i-Base website. Comments on this forum by other users are also answered individually.
Importantly, from 2014-2015 there has been a substantial increase in the demand for these services. Over the last year, use across all services rose by 30%, with email enquiries increasing by 52% and phone line enquiries increasing by 22%.
The majority of enquiries were from men, who made of 82% of enquiries. Enquiries from the London area made up 60%. There was an even distribution of age range (mainly between 30 and 60 years old) among those using the services. The vast majority of enquiries, 98%, were from HIV positive people calling for themselves.
The biggest proportion of calls were in relation to side effects, 17%, followed by concerns about transmission, 13%, and then treatment access, 12%. Enquiries by phone often included secondary topics.
The presentation emphasised the adaptability of the services provided by i-Base for new and rapidly changing topics of concern from callers. This was underscored by the number of calls i-Base has taken regarding PrEP. In summary these numbers demonstrate the continued need for community treatment support services, such as i-Base.
Jakob R et al. HIV treatment information and advocacy 2014/15: continued demand for community support services. 22nd Annual BHIVA Conference, 19-22 April 2016, Manchester. Oral abstract 05.
http://www.bhiva.org/documents/Conferences/2016Manchester/Presentations/160420/RobinJakob.pdf (PDF slides)