A nationally-accredited training program has been launched for frontline aged care staff to provide support to older people living with HIV.
The Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM), a peak organisation representing a multidisciplinary HIV workforce, developed the training with funding from the Department of Health in Western Australia.
The training program was officially launched on the International Day of Older Persons on 1 October by Ita Buttrose.
“The program aims to assure older men and women with HIV that their needs will be met when they are seeking aged care services. It will also help remove barriers that in the past, might have excluded or discriminated again them and their aged care needs,” said Ms Buttrose.
The training, which covers home, community and residential care settings, was developed in consultation with seniors peak bodies, advocacy groups for people with HIV, service providers, health professionals, and education providers.
Dr Claire Italiano, ASHM board member and infectious diseases physician at Royal Perth Hospital, said the training covered topics such as HIV transmission, confidentiality, disclosure, implementation of standard precautions, basic understanding of HIV medication and the importance of adherence to the treatment regimen.
“Also featured strongly is the debunking of myths surrounding HIV which often forms the basis of stigma and discrimination,” she said.
ASHM is currently working with RTOs nationally to deliver this accredited unit of competency as part of their aged care qualifications and training.
Aaron Cogle, executive director of the National Association of People with HIV Australia, said the organisation was proud to be a project partner.
As people with HIV age and require support services, it is important that staff receive up-to-date training in this area, he said.