Volume 9 Number 9/10 Sep/Oct 2008

Welcome to the September/October issue of HTB.

We lead with conference coverage from the World AIDS Conference and a smaller workshop on transmission held immediately prior to this. The role of HIV treatment for prevention is also covered in several other sections and reviews.

We included with this issue a leaflet from the MHRA about the Yellow Card scheme for reporting side effects to the UK regulatory authority. Last year fewer than 250 reports were submitted in relation to antiretroviral drugs. Although the scheme was recently expanded to allow patients as well as healthcare workers and the pharmaceutical industry to report, less than a handful of these cases were from patients.

The programme is looking for information not only on new or unexpected side effects but also for already known toxicities that may be occurring at a higher frequency. Healthcare workers will hopefully encourage patients to become involved in this aspect of post-marketing drug safety.

It is hoped that, similar to the FDA, the MHRA will produce summary reports from their data on HIV-related drugs.

i-Base funding update: help needed from clinics

Earlier this year we informed readers of the London Commissioners decision not to fund ANY i-Base project. Our initial appeal was rejected but we are determined not to let this situation continue.

We would like to thank everyone who helped with letters of support, which came from doctors, nurses, pharmacists, HIV-positive patients and other service users.

Since April, there has been no drop in the level of our services. We have answered more phoneline calls, email information requests and distributed more treatment guides than the same period last year. We are just doing this without reimbursement.

Some clinics with a budget for patient or healthcare educational material have already agreed to donate an annual amount (£500 or £1000, estimated at £2 per patient) towards unlimited use of all our resources. If your clinic of Trust is able to help, please contact i-Base or use the clinic donation form on the inside cover of the printed version of HTB.

We understand that this will not always be possible, and we still commit to continue providing all publications and services free. But, if you can help, then many clinics each contributing to our shortfall should make a huge difference.

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.