Volume 8 Number 10 October 2007

This issue leads with a report presented to the BHIVA conference from the latest BHIVA audit on treatment of naive patients in the UK. Some of the findings make uncomfortable reading.

One of the satellite sessions at the same meeting included a case study presented by Mervyn Tyrer from the Royal Free Hospital, of a African woman, newly diagnosed with both TB and HIV. Her CD4 count was 120 cells/mm3, clearly with a medical need to treatment for both infections.

It was shocking to see that half the audience, comprised of several hundred well-informed healthcare workers, would only be prepared to threat the TB within their Trust.

There have been reports of real cases where an in-patient treated for TB and HIV is presented with a bill for HIV care that results in them discharging themselves, and then being lost to further healthcare. This is despite Margaret Johnson’s saying that “they should just refuse to pay – no one can make them”. In practice a bill for several thousand pounds is a scary prospect that doesn’t encourage patients to stay around (see below).

It is also common for the Home Office to deny leave to remain in the UK on the basis that HIV treatment is available in someone home country – even though this will not be available to that individual. Even though the government is supporting universal access to care.

Doctors with patients in a similar situation are recommended to contact Joe Murray, a new policy officer at National AIDS Trust, focussing on immigration, on 20 7814 6756 for advice.

It would be helpful for BHIVA, perhaps in a future audit, to look at Trust policy and access to treatment by PCT.

Assessing the treatment information needs of African communities

Included with this issue of HTB is an i-Base report written by Winnie Sseruma on assessing the treatment information needs of African communities.

This report was commissioned to better understand the needs of HIV-positive Africans living in the UK and to evaluate i- Base’s existing publications and services, and to inform our future direction. The quotations throughout deserve a wider readership, and should inform healthcare professionals about aspects of accessing healthcare in the UK that rarely get a high profile.

The report is also available online as a PDF.

ARV4IDUs – issue 2

We will include a second supplement to people who receive the email distribution of HTB.

This is the second issue of a new electronic publication called ARVs4IDUs. This quarterly summary of research relating to injecting drug users and HIV.

HTB readers who currently receive HTB by email will continue to receive this automatically as a supplement to future issues of HTB.

Print readers will need to subscribe for this new electronic publication online.

This publication is available in English and Russian language versions.

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