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Role of community pharmacy in HIV prevention takes spotlight in JAPhA published research articles
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Are community-based pharmacists underused in the care of persons living with HIV? That’s one key question explored in research and experience articles published in the January/February 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.
The CDC estimates that more than 1.1 million people older than age 13 years are living with HIV infection in the United States, and almost 16% of those are currently unaware of their infection. Over the past decade, the number of new HIV infections in the United States has remained relatively stable at about 50,000 per year. Unfortunately, for patients in some rural communities easy access to physicians, hospitals and community health centers prevents testing and treatment. However, more than 85% of Americans live within a 10-mile radius of a community pharmacy. The accessibility of local pharmacists is an untapped resource for the delivery of effective and confidential HIV education, testing and care services.
The roles that community pharmacists play HIV prevention, testing and care are explored in several research and experience articles in the January/February 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. The four articles discuss community pharmacists’ roles and pharmacists’ perceptions of their patient care services among people living with HIV.
The objective of the lead research article, "Are community-based pharmacists underused in the care of persons living with HIV? A need for structural and policy changes," by Jennifer Kibicho, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, formerly at the Medical College of Wisconsin, et al., was: “To describe community pharmacists’ perceptions on their current role in direct patient care services, an expanded role for pharmacists in providing patient care services, and changes needed to optimally use pharmacists’ expertise to provide high-quality direct patient care services to people living with HIV infections.”
A second research article, "Nonprescription syringe sales: A missed opportunity for HIV prevention in California," by Robin Pollini, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, et al., sought to: “assess implementation of California Senate Bill SB41 in two inland California counties where prevalence of injection drug use is among the highest in the nation.”
The objective of an experience report, "Pharmacist-provided rapid HIV testing in two community pharmacies," by Kristin Darin, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, et al., was: “To evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of pharmacist-provided rapid testing for HIV infection in community pharmacies.” The objective of Darin’s related research notes was: “To evaluate consumers’ interest in pharmacist-provided HIV screening and to evaluate potential barriers and facilitators to HIV screening in the community pharmacy setting.”
The full-text articles are available for a limited time, free of charge on the Journal’s website.
Pharmacists are one of the most important members of an HIV patients healthcare team. Community Pharmacy is exactly where HIV patients need to be cared for but HIV Care is a Specialty that requires education and extensive knowledge by pharmacists,technicians and ancillary staff. Not only do the pharmacists and staff need to be well versed in clinical aspects of HIV including medications, drug interactions and side effects,adherence and resistance but also on HIV sensitivity issues, benefit management, psychosocial issues and actually how to take care of HIV patients in all areas. It is very important that pharmacists be trained, certified and credentialed to take care of patients and that the pharmacy and staff are vested in and part of the HIV community in their area. Mail order pharmacies such as Express Scripts, CVS Caremark, Cigna etc are the most unsatisfactory pharmacies for HIV patients. HIV patients build long standing relationships with their community HIV pharmacists who help manage their medications and HIV disease as a whole. Companies like Anthem Blue Cross of California and United Healthcare have been successfully sued for discriminating against people with HIV now allowing them to select a pharmacy of their choice without penalty to either the patient or the pharmacy. You can get more information about the Role of The Pharmacist in HIV from my book Saving Lives:The Role of The Pharmacist In HIV http://bit.ly/RxSavingLives and more about training your pharmacists and staff to care for HIV Patients at http://hivpharmacyonlinetraining.com/