All people living with HIV with or without COVID-19, are eligible to access telehealth consultations. ***UPDATED: 20 April

 Computer keyboard with a key labelled Telehealth

What is telehealth?

Telehealth is a way people living with HIV (PLHIV) can access essential Medicare funded health services remotely using telephone and video technology. Any general practitioner, medical specialist, mental health or allied health professional is now able to provide phone and/or video consultations (tele-health) to any people with or without COVID-19.

This will benefit all PLHIV who are self-isolating, and minimise COVID-19 transmission risks for clients and staff. 

How does telehealth work?

From 13 March 2020 to 30 September 2020, COVID-19 Temporary MBS telehealth service item numbers have been created to allow GPs including S100 Prescribers and other health professionals the flexibility to provide essential health services to clients in their own homes via phone and/or video, if those services are normally bulk billed.   

During these consultations you can still have your health professional prescribe your medication including HIV antiretroviral medication as well as order your pathology and diagnostic imaging tests if needed.

Who can use telehealth?

Telehealth services are available for all Medicare eligible people located in Australia, who are currently not admitted to hospital.

All telehealth services will be bulkbilled for Commonwealth concession card holders, children under 16 years of age, and patients who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, including PLHIV.

Those considered more vulnerable to COVID-19 includes people who are:

  • Required by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee in relation to COVID-19 to self-isolated or self-quarantine
  • 70 years old or over
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and are 50 years old or over
  • Pregnant, or a parent of a child under 12 months of age
  • Being treated for a chronic health condition
  • Immune-compromised
  • Suspected to have the COVID-19 infection by meeting the current national triage protocol criteria.

As HIV is considered a chronic health condition, all Medicare eligible PLHIV in Australia are eligible for bulkbilled telehealth services.

What appointments can I access with telehealth?

For COVID-19 related health, all people in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19 can access telehealth with any eligible health providers.

For HIV related health matters such as S100 prescription repeats, you can use telehealth to access your regular health provider (or another provider within the same practice) as long as you have seen that health provider as least once face-to-face in the last 12 months and your health has been stable during this time e.g. stable viral load and CD4 count results.

You are also able to access other services via telehealth such as:

  • General Practitioners
  • Specialists with a referral from your GP (e.g. S100 Prescribers, Psychiatrists and Surgeons)
  • Nurses
  • Psychologists and Physiotherapy (available as part of a Chronic Disease Management Plan written by your GP. This includes up to five appointments accessed via a Medicare rebate and no cost to you.)
  • Social workers
  • Midwives
  • Dieticians
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners
  • Occupational Therapists and
  • Geriatricians

How to use telehealth?

You will need

  • Access to a telephone
  • Access to a reliable internet connection
  • An email address
  • A suitable device with camera, microphone and speakers (such as a laptop, smart mobile phone, or tablet/iPad)
  • A private comfortable area

Videoconference services are available through software such as Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Duo, GoToMeeting and others. Most videoconference platforms are free and can be downloaded online or accessed using a smart mobile phone, or tablet/iPad through the App Store for Apple devices or Google Play Store for all other devices.

However, if you do not have access to a videoconferences services including devices with a camera and internet, your health practitioner will still be able to speak with you via the telephone.

How DO I Make a Telehealth Appointment?

Contact your relevant health professional to organise an appointment and let them know you would like your consultation carried out via telehealth.

Please note that a health service will only provide consultations by telehealth where it is safe and clinically appropriate to do so.

Positive Life NSW has listed all the HIV clinics below, who we know are offering telehealth appointments. If your HIV clinician is not on the list, please contact your regular GP directly for updated advice.

Positive life is here to support you:

Positive Life will continue to offer professional and peer support by telephone, email or online as required. You are not alone.

If you are a person living with HIV feeling anxious, isolated or alone or caring for someone living with HIV and not sure where to seek help, call and speak to one of our Peer Support or Treatments Officers at Positive Life NSW on (02) 9206 2177 or 1800 245 677 (free call) or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

HIV CLINICS OFFERING TELEHEALTH CONSULTATIONS

Albion Centre
Telephone (02) 9332 9600 or visit thealbioncentre.org.au

East Sydney Doctors
Telephone (02) 9332 2531 or visit www.eastsydneydoctors.com.au

Holdsworth House Medical Practice (Sydney or Byron Bay)
Telephone (02) 9331 7228 or visit www.holdsworthhouse.com.au/locations/sydney/  or www.holdsworthhouse.com.au/locations/byron-bay/

Kirketon Road Centre
Telephone (02) 9360 2766 or visit www.seslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/services-clinics/directory/kirketon-road-centre

Liverpool HIV Clinic
Telephone (02) 9827 8022 or visit www.swslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/communityhealth/sexualhealth

RPA Sexual Health
Telephone (02) 9515 1200 or visit www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/CommunityHealth/SexualHealth

Sydney Sexual Health Clinic
Telephone (02) 9382 7440 or visit  www.sshc.org.au

Taylor Square Private Clinic
Telephone (02) 9331 6151 or visit www.tspc.com.au

Western Sydney Sexual Health (Parramatta)
Telephone (02) 9843 3124 (Parramatta) or 9881 1206 (Mt Druitt)
or visit www.wslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/Western-Sydney-Sexual-Health-Centre

Resources on telehealth

MBS Changes Consumer Factsheet – COVID-19 Telehealth Services

MBS Online – COVID-19 Temporary MBS Telehealth Services

 

Page updated: 10 April 2020

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