Doctors' Experience Affects HIV Care
BY HIV Plus Editors
July 01 2005 12:00 AM ET
Although there is a growing nationwide trend to urge HIV-positive people to receive medical care from HIV specialists, a study in the May 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine has shown that experienced and highly trained general practitioners can provide high-quality HIV care.
The study tracked 5,247 HIV patients linked with 177 physicians; 58% of the doctors were general practitioners and 42% were infectious disease specialists. Computer models analyzing a host of data showed that patients of general practitioners with considerable experience or expertise in HIV care fared as well as patients of HIV specialists. Only inexperienced or poorly trained general practitioners gave lower-quality care. Doctors with fewer than 20 HIV patients also were shown to be less likely to see their patients regularly or to prescribe anti-HIV drugs.