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Prim Care. 2003 Mar;30(1):205-37.

HIV disease in primary care.

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University of Cincinnati Infectious Disease Center, Eden Avenue & Sabin Way, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0405, USA.


During the past decade, a large number of new drugs for treating HIV and its complications have been developed. The increasingly sophisticated use of these drugs in combination has led to a marked reduction in HIV-related morbidity and mortality in countries where they are available. HIV/AIDS patients receiving treatment are now expected to live into old age. The beneficial effect of HIV treatment has resulted in an expanding population of persons living with HIV/AIDS who will need the care of an HIV specialist because of the complexity of the treatment regimens and the rapidly changing HIV/AIDS knowledge base. However, this growing and aging population will also benefit from the care of a primary care physician. The primary care generalist is in the best position to recognize and diagnose HIV infection, evaluate HIV risk in his or her patient population, and help prevent HIV infection in persons at risk. In patients known to be infected, the primary care generalist will be best able to manage hyperlipidemia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other disorders of an aging population with an increased risk of these and other conditions. Patients with HIV infection frequently accumulate a large number of specialist physicians, and the unique ability of the primary care physician to monitor their care and act as a knowledgeable patient advocate is a great benefit to the patient.

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