- Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) is provided to most diagnosed HIV positive individuals within Australia and New Zealand at a subsidised cost.
- ART is classed as a 'section 100 Highly Specialised Drug' under the National Health Act, meaning there are restrictions on prescribing these medicines.
- ART can only be prescribed by tertiary consultants and general practitioners who are accredited and maintain their continuing professional development (CPD) in HIV.
- The HIV Community Prescriber Program consists of accreditation as well as continuing professional development (CPD).
- Community prescribers provide important care options for people living with HIV by allowing them to seek their HIV care in a general practice setting.
What is the HIV Community Prescriber Program?
Only tertiary consultants and general practitioners who are accredited and maintain their continuing professional development (CPD) in HIV are able to prescribe ART.
The HIV Community Prescriber Program enables GPs and tertiary consultants to do this.
The program consists of three main parts:
- Introduction to HIV Care for General Practitioners Course.
- HIV s100 Prescriber Course and assessments.
- Continuing professional development (CPD) that maintains the accreditation.
ASHM maintains the HIV Community Prescriber Programs for New South Wales, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia & in partnership in Victoria*
About the HIV s100 Prescriber Course
The HIV s100 Prescriber Course is a face-to-face course that runs for two days. It includes these topics:
- Initiation of Antiretroviral Therapy: including principles of ARV therapy, drug classes and initiation of therapy.
- Monitoring the Patient on Therapy: including screening for other infections, frequency of monitoring, adherence and test variability.
- Toxicities and Adverse Events: including toxicities associated with first-line regimens, co-morbidities and long-term adverse events.
- Special scenarios.
- Clinical skills development.
Upon successful completion of the training and assessments, medical practitioners in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria* will be accredited and registered with the relevant State/s Department/s of health to prescribe s100 drugs for the management of HIV.
The Introduction to HIV Care for General Practitioners course is the prerequisite for this course.
Initial Accreditation of HIV s100 Prescribers in ACT, NSW, NT, SA, TAS, QLD, WA and VIC
As part of the initial accreditation process to become an s100 HIV community prescriber, a practitioner must fulfil each of the five criteria outlined in the National Standards for Certification of Community HIV s100 Prescribers (2008, revised 2015).
In the 12 months following accreditation HIV s100 community Prescribers are required to demonstrate a relationship with a mentor.
The Mentor must be a registered Medical Practitioner currently working in HIV Medicine and needs to have demonstrated ongoing contemporary experience in HIV Medicine and a demonstrated commitment to CPD in HIV Medicine.
In the first instance, responsibility for contact remains with the prescriber. The times and reasons for making contact with the mentor will vary and may include assistance with areas such as:
- The diagnosis of a new patient with HIV.
- Initiating new treatment regimens.
- Changing treatment regimens.
- Suspicion of adverse reactions to antiretroviral therapies.
- Potential drug interactions.
The new prescriber must seek support from their mentor on a minimum of four occasions within the first 12 months. The continuation of this relationship is encouraged after the initial 12 month period. Prescribers with no current caseload of people living with HIV still are asked to contact their mentor every three months.
Other than on initial documentation, the relationship between mentor and prescriber is not formally evaluated or reported unless:
- The prescriber wishes to register this relationship as one of the activities to gain CPD points.
- The prescriber allows their ongoing accreditation to prescribe HIV ART to lapse and seeks re-accreditation.
Maintenance of Community HIV s100 Prescriber Accreditation
HIV s100 community-based Prescribers are required to participate in CPD to maintain accreditation to prescribe s100 HIV drugs in Australia. This is a requirement set out in the Highly Specialised Drugs Program (HSDP) and the National Standard for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Community HIV s100 Prescribers
To maintain accreditation, Prescribers are required to:
- Accrue a minimum 7 HIV CPD points annually Renew their prescribing rights annually*
- Demonstrate that they have an established link with an experienced HIV specialist located at an HIV treatment unit in a public hospital
* Community HIV s100 Prescribers accredited in South Australia must accrue 5 out of the 7 total HIV CPD points required from activities held in South Australia.
Award and accrual of HIV CPD points
The aim of the HIV CPD program is to ensure Prescribers maintain their clinical competency and hence, assist with maintenance of patient safety.
HIV CPD points can be accrued through participation in accredited education activities which may be delivered by ASHM or external CPD providers.
Community Prescribers are required to participate in a variety of HIV CPD accredited activities such as; clinical updates, clinical mentoring, clinical placement, clinical audit, conference attendance or online CPD activities.
For a detailed breakdown of the points available for specific activities, please refer to the National Standards for Certification of Community HIV s100 Prescribers (2008, revised 2014).
HIV CPD adjudication of activities delivered by external providers
External organisations may apply to have their educational activities adjudicated for HIV CPD points by ASHM on behalf of and according to the National HIV Standards, Training and Education Committee.
External providers are required to submit attendance lists and evaluation reports to ASHM so HIV CPD points can be allocated to prescriber attendees.
Provider application for adjudication form
Self-adjudication of HIV CPD activities
Prescribers can apply to ASHM directly to have educational activities adjudicated for HIV CPD points. These activities can include HIV updates or non-HIV-specific updates attended that have not previously been adjudicated for HIV CPD points.
Prescriber Application for Adjudication form
National Standards for HIV Training and Accreditation
National Standards for Training and Certification.
ASHM works to support HIV prescribers by sending monthly email bulletins outlining upcoming training opportunities, relevant research and other important sector news.
We offer a robust support network of prescribers around Australia, which includes some of the finest medical practitioners in the country.
ASHM can provide ad hoc support to prescribers with particular needs. If you are a prescriber looking for support, please email HIVprescriber@ashm.org.au and we will assist however we can.
We look forward to welcoming new prescribers.
For more information on how to become a prescriber in your state or territory, please contact us on HIVprescriber@ashm.org.au