DETROIT – The doctor’s call to the Michigan HIV Consult Program came with a sense of urgency. A preliminary HIV test had turned up positive for an expectant mother, and the doctor needed guidance on the appropriate drug therapy to stop the virus from spreading in the mother and to her baby.
When the call ended a few minutes later and the doctor happily satisfied and relieved with the expert counsel, the newly launched program played out as it was intended.
For many health care professionals, trying to keep up with the rapid advances in medicine, drug therapy and research can be challenging. The HIV consult program aims to close that gap for HIV disease management across Michigan.
The program is a partnership between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Henry Ford Hospital, a leader in HIV/AIDS treatment and research since the epidemic took hold in the 1980s.
Henry Ford’s team of HIV experts assist health care professionals by providing the latest information about HIV disease management, drug therapy, perinatal treatment, exposure, prevention and more, says Norman Markowitz, M.D., an Infectious Diseases physician who leads Henry Ford’s HIV team.
Health care professionals who have questions that require immediate attention are to call (313) 575-0332. Non-urgent questions are submitted online at Michigan HIV Consult Program. Online questions are answered within 24-48 hours.
“As health care professionals, we all strive to provide patients the best care possible,” says Dr. Markowitz. “The consult program is a valuable resource for helping our professional colleagues better care for their HIV patients. A lot has changed over the years in HIV care management and we can share the latest best practices.”
More than 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and 1 in 8 of them don’t know it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 2005 and 2014, new cases of HIV infection dropped 19 percent. Michigan ranked 16th in the HIV diagnoses in 2013.
HIV, human immunodeficiency virus, can lead to the disease AIDS if left untreated. Advances in antiviral medications have enabled doctors to effectively manage AIDS as a chronic disease and patients with HIV to live a safer, normal life span. Today, many HIV patients take one pill once a day, compared to a multi-drug regimen from just a few years ago. Still, prevention is the best medicine.