Ensuring patient safety and delivering care of the highest quality are fundamental responsibilities of health and social care providers. The clinical care of people who are living with HIV is complex, requiring management of issues ranging from immunosuppression through to psychological health. There is a two-way interplay between HIV and many other health conditions. For these reasons, people living with HIV should expect to receive care overseen by a consultant physician who has specialist knowledge and skills in HIV medicine.
The complexity of HIV makes it essential that people are managed by a multidisciplinary team (MDT) working alongside relevant specialties. It is important that care is provided within a suitable and recognised organisational structure for appropriate accountability and essential that continued teaching, training and sharing of best practice is in place.
Not all the clinical services will be available within the local team. It is important that network arrangements including with those with community services are in place. Timely referral should be made to practitioners with the appropriate knowledge and skills.
In order that there is timely access to high-quality care it is also essential that non-specialist health and social care workers have accurate general knowledge about HIV and that they build skills and develop attitudes that further advance this quality. This will help reduce HIV stigma that still exists within the health service. Such training should also include the principles and practice of confidentiality, data protection, equality and diversity.