Volume 7 Number 5 May 2006

Included in this issue is Sir Liam Donaldson’s letter recommending PEP after non-occupational exposure as part of our national HIV prevention strategy in which he asks chief executives of all primary care trusts to “ensure that PEP is part of the spectrum of sexual health services for your local population.” We welcome this directive from the Department of Health but must reiterate our comment that this is more likely to have been driven by a legal challenge than by the recent publication of the BASHH guidelines on the use of PEPSE. The letter and guidelines must be widely publicised as (and we quote from a BHIVA presentation), “PEP can only work if people know about it.”

We also include our first reports from the recent BHIVA conference in Brighton. These include a report in which it was found that almost 60% of symptomatic acute HIV presentations in a primary healthcare setting were missed by GPs, and a report on B-5701 testing to reduce incidence of abacavir hypersensitivity reaction.

Our other conference reports are the final group from CROI. These include studies from resource limited settings which had a high profile at the meeting. Reports include treatment durability and toxicities, mortality risk and HIV associated illness in the first few months from initiating therapy and scale up of treatment. There was much debate in these sessions including around payment for treatment, so it was welcome to hear champion of public health, Tony Harries from Malawi, state the obvious that healthcare and treatment “must be free”. We have never been sure why this must be debated at all.

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