HIV Pharmacists: Critical Partners on the HIV Care Team

The American Academy of HIV Medicine has certified thousands of providers with specialist or expert designations.

The American Academy of HIV Medicine has certified thousands of providers with specialist or expert designations.

Since the inception of the American Academy of HIV Medicine’s certification programs in 2002, thousands of HIV care providers have earned the HIV Specialist (AAHIVS) or HIV Expert (AAHIVE) designations.

Starting in 2011, HIV-specialized pharmacists were added to the program. They can now earn the HIV Pharmacist (AAHIVP) designation if they are seeing patients in a clinical setting or a (AAHIVE) credential designation if they do not see patients.

The academy's program is the only widely recognized, statistically sound and defensible measurement program available in HIV-focused medical care. On average, over 2000 HIV providers, that is, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants as well as pharmacists renew their credential during each exam cycle, thereby actively maintaining their credential. In 2015, most US HIV-positive patients are now under the care of an academy-certified provider.

Currently credentialed pharmacists are working in a wide variety of settings including: medical centers, pharmaceutical companies, universities, commercial pharmacies, state and federal correctional facilities, specialty pharmacies, community based HIV/AIDS organizations, as well as schools of pharmacy.

An Academy HIV Credential:

• Communicates to patients, colleagues, employers, governments and third-party payers an up-to-date core knowledge HIV care.

• Demonstrates support (on the part of the certified provider) of a uniform national standard for HIV care, and offers appropriate recognition of this highly technical sub-specialty.

• Protects the healthcare consumer by creating a publicly identifiable professional standard of HIV care, which is awarded by an objective, transparent process and can be readily identified by a provider’s AAHIVS, AAHIVE or AAHIVP titling.

• Promotes professional visibility of providers working in HIV care.

• May offer a competitive edge in employment (and an identifiable standard of expertise for healthcare employers).

• Supports efforts to reform current reimbursement structures for specialized HIV care by creating a mechanism to determine the validity of expertise among an aggregate population of certified providers.

The program has recently changed to make the credential valid for three years. Pharmacists who qualify for the 2015 program and pass the exam will be awarded an AAHIVP or AAHIVE designation that will be valid until December 31, 2018.

The eligibility requirements include graduation from a recognized school of pharmacy, a valid state issued license and documentation of a minimum of 30 CE units acquired within 24 months of the date of the exam. The credentialing committee recognizes that HIV specific CE units for pharmacists are rare, they will therefore accept CE that can be shown to relevant to the HIV disease process.

Enrollment for this years’ credentialing program opens on April 15 and closes on June 30, 2015. The exam, 125 multiple choice questions, can be taken either online or by booklet.

The examination period is from August 11 to September 30, 2015. Comprehensive information about the program can be found on the Academy website: AAHIVM.org under the “Credentialing” tab.

While it is not required to become a member of the Academy to credential, there are substantial discounts for members who decide to take the exam.

The growth of numbers of pharmacists becoming credentialed adds greatly to the mission of the Academy of “Advancing Excellence in HIV Care.”

SOURCE: American Academy of HIV Medicine