Recent ACON studies suggest many people living with HIV believe the treatment options available to them have not changed since 1996, when the largest range of new medicines first became available.

The fact is, however, treatment options in 2006 are a world apart from 10 years ago. To highlight the current state of HIV medications, ACON has launched a new website -“ www.treatmentsupdate.info -“ to improve access to information for people living with HIV/AIDS.

It is really important for us to get out the information that HIV treatments have changed so much, ACON CEO Stevie Clayton told the Star

We are dealing with people who are newly diagnosed and are getting their information from people who were diagnosed some time ago, and that is no longer accurate information.

The other group also in need of updated information, ACON discovered, is positive people who have been on treatments for a long time and might now be facing a change in combinations.

This is particularly the case for people who were diagnosed before the mid to late 90s when treatment regimes were limited, ACON president Adrian Lovney said.

We have found that many HIV-positive clients are still basing their treatments information on advice they received several years ago, and this has obviously become outdated with a number of advances in the field.

The new website offers a range of up-to-date information about the range of HIV medications on offer, including interactions with other drugs and potential side effects.

The information provided has been edited and approved by a range of HIV specialist GP doctors, and will be regularly updated as new information becomes available.

It is a matter of looking at what information is available around the world, and then picking the best and most relevant material, Clayton said.

People want basic information and some background on what questions to ask their doctors, to help them make the decisions that need to be made.

This website might give people the opportunity in their own home or at a library to formulate the questions they might ask their GPs about.

Clayton said the website was not only an Australian first but also the essential next stage of presenting HIV information to the community.

She did stress, however, that patients should always consult a doctor before any major decisions were made about treatments.

For more information visit the Treatments Update website.

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