Analysis of care of HIV positive patients: hospital and general practice components.

Fifty-seven HIV positive adults (mostly injecting drug users) attending two inner city Dublin general practices were followed for one year to identify the general practice and hospital components of their care. Many patients had advanced disease; during the year 10/57 (17.5%) died. The group made a median of seven visits to general practice (range 0-35) and two visits to hospital HIV clinics (range 0-21). A quarter of the group (14/57) was seen only in general practice and did not attend hospital; only two patients did not attend either the HIV Clinic or the GP during the year. Hospital admission was needed for 15/57 (26.3%) patients on a total of 31 occasions with an average length of stay of 10 days per admission; 80% of these admissions were generated by 10 patients with AIDS. The indication for almost all admissions was serious physical illness or diagnostic or therapeutic procedure. Patients with symptomatic or advanced HIV disease required a higher level of care than those with asymptomatic disease. It is essential that the agencies involved in meeting this level of demand be adequately resourced and that they liaise closely.