With multi-professional networking now universally acknowledged as crucial to optimising the effectiveness of HIV treatment and care, a new organisation launched towards the end of 2014 aims to provide a stronger voice for HIV healthcare professionals, and maximise opportunities for joined-up working across clinical disciplines.
The Federation of HIV Associations (FHIVA) will comprise six member organisations: The British HIV Association (BHIVA); The Children’s HIV Association (CHIVA); Dietitians in HIV/AIDS (DHIVA); The HIV Pharmacy Association (HIVPA); The National HIV Nurses Association (NHIVNA); and The Rehabilitation in HIV Association (RHIVA). In addition, the HIV Trainees Club will be affiliated to FHIVA.
Dr David Asboe, Chair of the British HIV Association, which has led the development of the new body, said: “At a time when the importance of professional care networks has never been greater, FHIVA’s mission is to provide a united voice, in order to promote and safeguard clinical excellence in HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.”
Together, FHIVA members will work with community advocacy groups that represent patients and will explore areas where collaborative initiatives are most likely to benefit clinical excellence. These will include making joint responses to relevant consultations; providing collaborative input into relevant guidelines; and undertaking joint scientific and/or fundraising events, such as events to mark World AIDS Day.
Initial two-year funding will be provided by BHIVA, with FHIVA also able to make finding applications to external funders and sponsors, providing these are not detrimental to the individual organisations’ fundraising efforts.
Dr David Asboe said: “We know there is strength in numbers, and our aim with FHIVA is to bring together the immense knowledge and experience of the broadest possible range of HIV healthcare professionals. While collaboration between disciplines is already extremely healthy, the new organisation underlines our commitment to joint working in pursuit of rapid improvements in the HIV healthcare landscape.”
To maintain focus and ensure that FHIVA does not engage in any activity that could jeopardize the charitable status of any of its members, a steering committee will comprise the chairs or nominated representatives of the seven involved organisations, with a steering committee chair rotating around each member organisation every two years.
Sharon Byrne, Co-Chair of HIVPA, said: "The formation of FHIVA represents the strong multidisciplinary team ethos of HIV healthcare professionals and celebrates our united commitment to truly keep the patient at the heart of our services. United we are stronger than our individual parts."
Michelle Croston, Chair of NHIVNA, said: “We support the opportunity to work in collaboration with the wider multidisciplinary team. Moving forward, joint work will ensure higher standards of care for patients and ensure that resources are effectively used to improve patient care. Working together as an organisation, we are able to have a stronger voice in an ever changing professional landscape.”
Following its launch at the end of 2014, FHIVA continues to work to provide a platform for its constituent multidisciplinary organisations. Workshops have been held at BHIVA conferences and the next workshop will be held at the BHIVA 22nd Annual Conference in Manchester 2016 – the topic for which is 'Managing HIV in people with cognitive deficit'.
The FHIVA secretariat can be contacted by email at: FHIVA@mediscript.ltd.uk.