Pharmacist Action on Awareness,Prevention & Counseling for HIV/AIDS

By: Pharma Jobs | Views: 7421 | Date: 20-Aug-2013

A pharmacist is a crucial and a focal point in the community. Practically everyone in the population comes in contact with him at some point of time, i.e. whenever any medicine or baby product is required. The outreach of this person is tremendous. We at this point of time are still facing the problem of lack of knowledge/ information on this issue with the general population. This is compounded by the fact that the information is laden with misconceptions on the subject. Pharmacists deal with people from a

Pharmacist Action on Awareness, Prevention and Counseling for HIV/AIDS

Apharmacist is a crucial and a focal point in the community. Practicallyeveryone in the population comes in contact with him at some point of time,i.e. whenever any medicine or baby product is required. The outreach of thisperson is tremendous. We at this point of time are still facing the problem oflack of knowledge/ information on this issue with the general population. Thisis compounded by the fact that the information is laden with misconceptions onthe subject. Pharmacists deal with people from all sections of society andlargely those who are ignorant on the issue of HIV/AIDS and therefore they canbe a powerful medium for spreading the message on awareness, prevention andcounseling.


Role of Pharmacist:
  1. A center for exposing people to HIV/AIDSinformation through the display of Information Education and Communicating Posters (IECP) material as well as by keeping leaflets on the counter for the people topick up for themselves.
  2. When a syringe issold, information on the safe use of a new needle and disposable syringe couldbe disseminated to the customer along with the information to destroy the same,to avoid recycling.
  3. With every sale of a condom, educate the person on its correct use, as peoplemostly feel that they know how to use it but are not aware of the correct wayalong with the basics such as not reusing the condom, not to apply a lubricant,checking the expiry date as well as disposal of the same after use.
  4. Condomsshould not be hidden under the shelf; rather they should be kept prominentlyfor people to get used to seeing them in the open. When the media can openlydisplay advertisements of condoms, why can’t a pharmacy display the same? Maybe this will help people break mindsets and barriers for the same.
  5. Information could be given when a drug related to STD is sold. Here a messagefor the complete course of medication along with treatment for spouse could begiven. Further, the benefit of using a condom could be emphasised for theprevention of STDs.
  6. The pharmacist, besides giving information and clearing doubts of those peoplewho seek clarification on the disseminated information on a product related insome way to HIV/AIDS and its related issues, can also serve as a focal personfor providing information on care of those infected as well as on how to takecare of the affected family.
  7. Living in the community, the pharmacist could initiate a social support groupfor those infected, reducing stigma related to the infection. Further, he/shecould also be a trainer for people in the community for home-based care(hospice), which reduces the financial burden on the family.
  8. The pharmacist is in a position to emphasise the availability of balanced andcheap nutrition, as drugs by themselves can’t help a person regain strength. Ithas been observed that people are generally unaware of nutrition facts. Aposter regarding the same too could be displayed for people to read andunderstand.
  9. People have faith inthe pharmacist as he/she dispenses drugs for various ailments. This way we aretargeting not just HIV/AIDS but all other infections, which often precipitatethe onset of major illnesses. In such instances, documentation of any STD orHIV case should also be done. People generally go to the pharmacists, describethe symptoms and ask for the appropriate drug.
  10. Once noted the case could beforwarded to the appropriate agency for further follow up. It should be soplanned that the person comes back to the drug store every 3/5 days. This willhelp in seeing the progress of the person and could also be an avenue forcounseling regarding the infection. Education input at this point could helpreduce the number of recurring cases, new infection and increase of condom use,preventing spread as well as population control. 
All these will help in developing positive attitudes towards the peopleinfected as well as affected. It should not be misunderstood that thepharmacist has to do each and every activity stated above. In a day, may bejust one of the many may require his input. And some days may be all or a few.He/she should judge the situation and then provide the necessary input. 
Source: FIP-HIV/AIDS Care
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