Promoting Excellence : National Workgroups : HIV / AIDS Palliative Care Workgroup

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Updated July 8, 2004

Mission Statement: To improve the comfort and quality of life for patients, families and caregivers impacted by HIV/AIDS throughout the trajectory of illness and particularly in advanced stages near the end of life. The workgroup will establish an agenda to increase access to optimum supportive care and ultimate improved quality of life to accompany current treatment and management.

HIV/AIDS is a chronic progressive illness that causes significant morbidity and is still incurable. This 23-member workgroup of clinicians and researchers, co-chaired by Carla S. Alexander, M.D. (Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland) and Anthony L. (Tony) Back, M.D. (Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington) met from February 2002 - April 2003. Using the HRSA definition of palliative care in HIV/AIDS that integrates palliative care throughout the trajectory of illness (*see below), the Workgroup focussed on the new challenges of treating the disease since the advent of HAART. The Recommendations to the Field summary provides an assessment of palliative care needs that remain unmet in the post-HAART era. The most pressing unmet needs include:

The success of HAART for HIV/AIDS has led to a diminished emphasis on palliative care as part of HIV/AIDS care. However, the palliative care issues raised by the workgroup are relevant to a growing number of adults and children living with HIVS/AIDS in the United States and internationally.

*Palliative Care in HIV/AIDS, as defined by HRSA:

Workgroup Products

HIV/AIDS Palliative Care Workgroup Membership
HIV Care: An Agenda for Change
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Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation dedicated to long-term changes in health care institutions to substantially improve care for dying people and their families. Visit for more resources.

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