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TOPcare trial finds nurse-led palliative care for HIV-positive patients greatly improves quality of life

The TOPcare trial, published this week in Lancet HIV, found that a simple training programme in the principles and practice of palliative care that was delivered to existing HIV outpatient nurses significantly improved quality of life, psychosocial problems, and psychiatric morbidity. This offers a promising model for health services around the world that will face an increasing patient load with such problems. Read the full paper.

Current global policy is that by 2020, 90% of people with HIV will be tested, of these 90% will be on treatment, and of those on treatment 90% will have viral suppression. This poses a huge challenge to health services, especially as prior evidence from East Africa showed a high burden of psychosocial problems among people with HIV1, that this is evident from the point of diagnosis2 and our systematic review identified a high prevalence of depression, anxiety and perceived stigma globally for people on HIV treatment3.

1 Quality of life and wellbeing among HIV outpatients in East Africa: a multicentre observational study

2 Multidimensional patient-reported problems within two weeks of HIV diagnosis in East Africa: a multicentre observational study

3 Experience of persistent psychological symptoms and perceived stigma among people with HIV on antiretroviral therapy (ART): a systematic review