HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust has teamed up with independent healthcare recommendation site iWantGreatCare (www.iwantgreatcare.org), to make it easier for people with HIV to find and recommend healthcare services that are sensitive to their needs.
Due to ongoing high levels of stigma around HIV, those with the condition can find choosing a GP or dentist a daunting process. A 2008 study found that one in five people with HIV had experienced discrimination in the last year from GPs or other healthcare professionals.
Terrence Higgins Trust’s partnership with iWantGreatCare creates the UK’s first patient-generated resource for people with HIV to share healthcare recommendations. It allows people coming through the charity’s interactive members’ website myHIV (www.myhiv.org) to submit confidential ratings and reviews recommending healthcare professionals, as well as the overall facilities. These detailed recommendations will then help others with HIV find the best local healthcare providers that have been directly endorsed by someone living with the condition.
By registering on the myHIV website, people with HIV can also privately store health and treatment information, access online counselling and advice, and gain 24-hour community support.
Garry Brough, Membership Officer for Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "Due to continuing high levels of stigma around HIV, people with the condition are often concerned about confidentiality and potential discrimination, even in healthcare settings. Our collaboration with iWantGreatCare will finally allow people with HIV to find and recommend local services which are sensitive to their needs, and signpost healthcare professionals who are already providing high-quality support to people with HIV."
Dr. Neil Bacon, founder and CEO of iWantGreatCare, said: “Finding a great doctor can make a huge difference to the lives of HIV patients. This partnership is a powerful way for people with HIV to directly benefit from others’ experiences and to find the very best care they can – whether that be finding a GP or a dentist. The detailed information being submitted is highlighting excellent care, whist helping patients avoid services that have provided a poor experience to their peers. The partnership with the Terence Higgins Trust heralds a new way of sharing uniquely valuable information and harnessing the wisdom of patients to improve quality standards as well as openness in healthcare.”
For more information, visit www.myhiv.org.uk.