Hospitalized patients face certain challenges when dealing with existing medical issues. For patients with HIV, the challenges can be critical if not handled expertly. This is especially true when they are admitted for medical reasons other than HIV. Infection, surgery or other issues or complications can throw off their ART or antiretroviral treatment. What can be done?

It has been reviewed that when a hospitalized HIV patient is seen by an infectious disease physician, the results are generally better. The complex regimen of HIV therapies can be confusing for staff members not used to regularly handling such issues. For these reasons, errors are often made, such as a wrong dosage or prescribing other drugs with ART contraindications. Infectious disease doctors and pharmacists can provide the required level of care.

Recent studies are showing that a great percentage of HIV patients seen by an infectious disease specialist report less errors than those who didn’t. Also the number of errors that were corrected or caught in time was remarkably higher. Due to education and familiarity with HIV therapy, specialists in the field are better equipped when it comes to managing certain aspects of inpatient care. In the end, patients required fewer hours of medical attention and demonstrated overall improvement in health when compared with HIV patients not seen by an infectious disease specialist.

In the case of medication and ART, pharmacists and clinicians trained in infectious disease evaluated, altered and administered drugs as needed. They were accurately able to determine risk and benefit for changes that were made. This type of consideration resulted in better management of medical issues with as little interference as possible with HIV therapies. These studies clearly indicate that there are indeed great benefits for an HIV patient to be under the charge of an infectious disease physician when admitted for other reasons to the hospital.