Update on outcomes of the HIV Medication Community Dispensing Survey in NSW at AFAO Members Forum on Saturday 16 May 2015

The Federal Minister for Health, the Hon. Peter Dutton MP announced that from 1 July 2015, people with HIV (PLHIV) will be able to access HIV medication from community pharmacies. In preparation for the roll-out of the new policy, Positive Life NSW surveyed people with HIV in NSW about whether they would use a community pharmacy to collect their HIV medicines and if not, what their concerns might be.

CEO of Positive Life NSW, Craig Cooper presentation on
HIV Medication Community Dispensing in NSW at AFAO members forum, May 2015

Nearly two thirds of respondents (64.84%) to the community dispensing of HIV medication survey said they would consider collecting HIV medications from a chemist and a little less (61.92%) said that it was the easiest way to collect their HIV medication. However, the proportion of PLHIV choosing to use a chemist for HIV dispensing may be higher than the survey indicates. PLHIV employment data (SGCPS 2012) suggests that the proportions of PLHIV in NSW who are employed, is higher than the percentage of survey respondents and it would be reasonable to speculate that more than 2/3 of PLHIV in NSW may switch to a chemist for HIV dispensing services after 1 July 2015.

Approximately one third of the community pharmacy survey respondents had significant concerns about privacy and confidentiality when using chemists for HIV dispensing services. Some PLHIV also had concerns about the expertise of chemist staff in relation to the provision of advice and support for HIV medication related side-effects and drug interactions. Addressing these issues via community education and chemist workforce training programs will be crucial to improving community understanding and confidence in the professional services provided by chemists and to increasing confidence in community HIV dispensing uptake by PLHIV in NSW.

Have a look at the resource about collecting HIV treatments from local chemists: http://thechoiceisyours.positivelife.org.au/

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