Lack of quality, clear, accurate and up-to-date information is a major challenge that prevents individuals with HIV from accessing healthcare services and lessens the likelihood that an individual will have success with self-management and long-term treatment. Too often people living with this virus feel they cannot talk to their healthcare professional or ask questions and, as a result, they feel removed from the decision-making process.
A consequence of this is worsening health outcomes. Having independent, clear and accurate information enables individuals and communities affected by HIV to engage with and improve healthcare services, take part in their disease management and challenge stigma and discrimination.
Even those who are fully linked in to care pathways may experience ill-health as a result of HIV. People living with HIV are, as a group, getting older. Ageing draws complications into the mix, not least potential comorbidities which may impose health limitations or, if treated, can give rise to drug-drug interactions. Information about the conditions and, critically, how to prevent them in people with HIV is necessary to address these complications.
It’s equally important to increase access to quality information for health workers. It is critical that they have all the information they require to make informed decisions and provide the necessary support to their HIV-positive patients. This is a challenge particularly in resource-poor settings where infrastructure and training may be lacking.