Do You Need a Doc for Top HIV Care?
February 17 2006 1:00 AM ET
A large-scale study of 68 U.S. HIV clinics has shown that experienced physician assistants and nurse practitioners offer a quality of HIV care similar to that of doctors who are HIV specialists'and even better care than general practitioners.
The study, reported in the November 15, 2005, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that on eight quality-of-care measures, including use of antiretroviral therapy, preventive medicine, and screenings for coinfections, nurse practitioners and physician assistants who specialize in treating HIV performed similarly to HIV specialists. They consistently outperformed general practitioners in most categories.
HIV Plus reported in August 2005 that a study of 5,247 HIV patients found that general practitioners with considerable experience or expertise in HIV case delivered the same quality of care as HIV specialists. Only inexperienced or poorly trained general practitioners, as well as those with fewer than 20 HIV patients, provided lower-quality care.