Prescribing guidelines

People living with HIV are encouraged to start anti-HIV treatment as soon as they are ready to after diagnosis, as this has been shown to improve health outcomes. Currently people living with HIV will be on treatment for life.

Recently, some medications used in HIV treatment have come 'off-patent,' meaning that they can be made by other companies and the price is often significantly cheaper. These drugs work in exactly the same way and give the same benefits. NHS Scotland is therefore keen to prescribe the cheaper medications as this will save the NHS money.

HIV clinicians have devised new guidelines for prescribing medication to ensure that the most suitable anti-HIV treatment is prescribed for as low a cost as possible. HIV Scotland have ensured that the voice of people living with HIV have been included in the development of this protocol. We organised for positive people from throughout Scotland to attend a specially organised meeting in Lothian in 2015 to initiate discussions on this subject.

The National Involvement Network (NIN) was established by HIV Scotland to bring together the voices of people living with HIV and ensure that they are included in decisions that may affect them. It meets regularly and includes representatives from regional HIV patient groups across Scotland. The NIN discussed the use of generics at its November 2016 meeting, including the experiences of those who had already been switched to generic drugs. They concluded that the NIN could see the benefits of switching to generics, but highlighted that side effects must be incorporated into any decision about treatment, people should be able to talk to their consultant or pharmacist about any aspect of their treatment and care, and recommended treatment advocates are available to offer advice and support. The information gathered at these meetings was presented to the HIV Clinical Leads Group as they developed new prescribing guidelines.

You can see the new guidelines here [PDF - 132kB], and learn more about why you have been prescribed the drugs that you have. Your health care team should discuss any changes to your treatment with you before they make them. If you have any questions or concerns about your medication, you should talk to your clinician, remember that you should be involved in decisions about any aspect of your treatment and care. If you have any concerns or questions be sure to speak to your healthcare team, or if you feel you are not getting the care you need please get in touch with HIV Scotland.

Read the new HIV prescribing guidelines [PDF - 132kB]