People living with HIV/AIDS will have nationwide access to the latest medical information, treatment options and support networks care of an extensive range of new services launched by the National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS.

Five years of consultancy and development work has culminated in NAPWA establishing Treataware, a three-pronged approach to HIV information which features a comprehensive website, treatment guide book and phone line to provide people living with HIV/AIDS the absolute latest medical news. It is hoped that these new services will empower positive people to take a more proactive role in directing their treatment options.

NAPWA spokesman Bill Whittaker said it was a major concern that while many people with HIV were going on to lead long and healthy lives, there was still a considerable proportion who were not informed about the latest medical developments.

The benefits of HIV treatments are unambiguous and there is growing evidence that starting treatment sooner rather than later leads to better long-term health outcomes, yet a substantial number of HIV-positive people are avoiding treatment because they may be unaware of the latest research, are concerned about treatment side effects or they don’t know where to go for up-to-date information, Whittaker told the launch audience.

Positive people need to be empowered with information so they can play their part in directing their treatment.

This empowerment is coming in the form of a website which provides up-to-date information on treatment as well as clinical trial information, a comprehensive guide book full of questions for patients to go through with their doctor and the country’s first HIV phone line to be staffed by professionals five days a week between 2pm and 7pm.

NAPWA President Robert Mitchell said these new services would benefit every person negotiating their way through the process of getting appropriate treatment.

Research shows that in situations where people are dealing with a long-term illness, the outcomes are better for them when they are informed and able to take an active role in their treatment plan and work with their doctors. It tends to be cheaper as well, he said.

We are so pleased with how this launch has gone after all the years of hard work we have all put in.

The now fully operational information phone line can be reached at 1800 817 713. The Treataware website can be accessed at www.treataware.info and the guide booklet for people with HIV and their clinicians is available from NAPWA offices and affiliated organisations. For general information on NAPWA head to http://napwa.org.au.

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