oa South African Family Practice - Identification of sources from which doctors in the private sector obtain information on HIV and AIDS : original research



: Doctors need to constantly update their knowledge and obtain information in order to practise high-quality medicine. Antiretroviral drugs have been available only since around 1996, therefore many of the doctors who were trained prior to 1996 would not have received any formal training in the management of HIV and AIDS patients. Where doctors source their general medical knowledge has been established, but little is known about where doctors source information on HIV / AIDS. This study investigated where private sector doctors from the eThekwini Metro obtain information on HIV and AIDS for patient management.

: A descriptive cross-sectional study among 133 private general practitioners (GPs) and 33 specialist doctors in the eThekwini Metro of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, was conducted with the use of questionnaires. The questionnaires were analysed using SPSS version 15. A p value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
: The majority of the doctors (92.4%) obtained information on HIV and AIDS from journals. Continuing Medical Education (CME), textbooks, pharmaceutical representatives, workshops, colleagues and conferences were identified as other sources of information, while only 35.7% of doctors were found to use the internet for information. GPs and specialists differed significantly with regard to their reliance on colleagues (52.9% versus 72.7%; p < 0.05) and conferences (48.6%versus 78.8%; p < 0.05) as sources of HIV information. More than 90% of doctors reported that CME courses contributed to better management of HIV and AIDS patients.
: Private sector doctors in the eThekwini Metro obtain information on HIV from reliable sources in order to have up-to-date knowledge on the management of HIV-infected patients.


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