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Keywords

pharmacist, community pharmacy, HIV, comprehensive medication management, qualitative study

Abstract

Background: Patients living with HIV/AIDS have complex medication regimens. Pharmacists within community pharmacy settings can have a role managing patients living with HIV/AIDS. Patients' perspectives surrounding implementation about community pharmacist-based services is needed as limited information is available.

Objective: To identify medication-related needs of HIV-infected patients who receive prescriptions from a community pharmacy. To determine patient perspectives and knowledge of community pharmacist-based services.

Methods: A qualitative research study involving in-depth, semi-structured interviews with patients was conducted.

Inclusion criteria included: HIV positive men and women at least 18 years of age who receive care at a HIV clinic, currently take medication(s) and use a community pharmacy for all prescription fills. Patients were recruited from one urban and one rural health center. Patients answered questions about their perceptions and knowledge about the role and value of pharmacy services and completed a demographic survey. The recordings of the interviews were transcribed verbatim and were analyzed using principles of Grounded Theory.

Results: Twenty-nine interviews were conducted: 15 participants from the urban site and 14 from the rural site. Five main themes emerged including: patients experience ongoing and varying medication-related needs; patients desire a pharmacist who is caring, knowledgeable and integrated with health care providers; patients expect ready access to drug therapy; patients value an individualized patient encounter, and patients need to be informed that a pharmacist-service exists.

Conclusion: Patients with HIV value individualized and personal encounters with pharmacists at time intervals that are convenient for the patient. Patients felt that a one-on-one encounter with a pharmacist would be most valuable when initiating or modifying medication therapy. These patient perspectives can be useful for pharmacists and pharmacies interested in providing advanced care to patients with HIV.

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