HIV prevention as a primary health care nurse

HIV testing in primary care  

Primary care can support HIV prevention by providing well-targeted HIV testing. In 2017, general practice diagnosed 34% of all patients with a HIV infection. [i]

When a HIV positive patient receives a diagnosis, they have the opportunity to start HIV treatment as early as possible. Early treatment provides health benefits to the patient [ii], and reduces the risk of passing HIV on to others [iii].

Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV

PrEP is an effective HIV prevention pill, taken daily by HIV-negative people to reduce their risk of HIV infection.  Studies have found it is efficacious and well-tolerated by most patients [iv].

HIV PrEP can now be prescribed by all general practitioners and nurse practitioners.

Primary Health Care Nurses (PHCN) have an important role to play in HIV prevention 

PHCN are in a unique position to provide sexual health services through their own nursing consultations and through a practice team approach. PHCNs can help by:

  • Identifying patients who would benefit from PrEP that may not be aware of their HIV risk, to be evaluated by a clinician
  • Supporting patient education around side-effects and adherence to PrEP medication, and discuss STI risk reduction behaviours, such as condom use
  • Start a conversation, or lead a PrEP education session within your health care setting, such as a GP Practice. NSW PrEP resources for include:   
  • Promote a strong HIV prevention focus in your health care setting. For more information visit Ending HIV.
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