If you've just found out that you are HIV-positive, you may feel overwhelmed and fearful. We want to let you know that there are countless resources available to HIV patients to help in your medication, treatment, and support. Individuals who are HIV-positive can have long, active lives due to advances in anti-retroviral therapy. If you are diagnosed with HIV, you should find a pharmacy that specializes in HIV, and has the resources to support your unique needs.
Here are 4 things to consider when choosing a specialty pharmacy specializing in HIV medication and treatment therapy.
- Credentialed HIV Specialty Pharmacists. Pharmacists are medication experts by training. However, HIV specialty pharmacists have advanced education in the complexities of anti-viral regimens, including drug interactions and side-effect management. These HIV specialty pharmacists receive credentials from the American Academy of HIV Medicine, the same institution that recognizes doctors with advanced training in the treatment of patients with HIV.
- Comprehensive Inventory. It is very important for you to find a specialty pharmacy that caters to patients with HIV. These specialty pharmacies will stock every HIV medication available, which will ensure there is never a delay in your treatment.
- Refill Monitoring. Interruptions in anti-retroviral therapy can have serious health consequences. An HIV specialty pharmacy commits to calling you every month to see how you are doing and to check if you need refills. Proactive calls from your specialty pharmacy eliminate the many variables in your busy life that can result in your forgetting to call for medication refills.
- Community Resources. HIV specialty pharmacists work directly with HIV providers in their communities and become resources for managing complex medication regimens that stem from multiple disease states. As a member of your treatment team, your HIV specialty pharmacist has a direct line to your doctor. Together, they can get issues resolved more effectively and efficiently.
The primary goal of anti-retroviral therapy is to prevent HIV-associated opportunistic illnesses that result from the body’s inability to fight disease. The effectiveness of therapy is commonly measured by CD4 blood counts. The results of a study published in March 2013 demonstrated that patients with HIV who maintained normal CD4 counts, i.e., at least 500 cells/mm3, do not have an increased risk of death when compared with people who are not infected with HIV. Patients with HIV who are diligent with their anti-retroviral drug regimens can be optimistic about their futures.
We invite you to learn more about the HIV medication and treatment options at Avella, and discover resources available to you to help you cope with your HIV diagnosis.
Rodger, A, Lodwick, R., et. al. Mortality in well controlled HIV in the continuous antiretroviral therapy arms of the SMART and ESPRIT trials compared with the general population. AIDS 2013, 27:973–979