amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

TREAT Asia and Ruby Hall Clinic Offer Pilot Internet Training Program


October 2005—Hoping to harness the flexibility and reach of the Internet to expand HIV/AIDS treatment education, TREAT Asia and the Ruby Hall Clinic in Pune, India, will launch an online interactive instructional program to train health-care professionals on the management of HIV/AIDS.

The pilot training course, which will begin this autumn, is part of an ongoing effort by TREAT Asia to help close the doctor gap in India and throughout the region. In recent years India has witnessed a sharp increase in the availability of cheap, generic antiretrovirals, but training in the proper use of these drugs has not kept pace with expanding access.

Pujari 2
Dr. Sanjay Pujari is director of the HIV Project at the Ruby Hall Clinic in Pune.

High rates of prescription errors, inadequate therapy-related counseling, and poor adherence monitoring are all problems that plague HIV/AIDS care in India, according to an unpublished study by the Ruby Hall Clinic. If successful, the online program will further expand the capacity of TREAT Asia to provide quality health-care training.

The pilot program will involve TREAT Asia, the Ruby Hall Clinic, and HIVeDucation, a project of the HealtheFoundation that provides interactive training and education on HIV/AIDS treatment and care via the Internet, primarily targeting health-care workers in regions of the world that have been hardest hit by the HIV epidemic.

The new program was originally designed to provide additional education and support to clinicians in the state of Maharashtra who had participated in an intensive, two-week, hands-on training program in HIV medicine offered by Ruby Hall. These clinicians indicated a need to remain up-to-date on treatment advances and expressed an interest in setting up HIV care teams in their institutions. When the online program was announced, however, more than 100 applications were submitted from across India for just 25 slots. As a result, this initial program will be expanded to include applicants from across the entire country and will include clinicians from departments of internal medicine, dermatology, and gynecology-obstetrics.

The online training program will combine computer-based self-study modules, participatory clinical case studies, e-assisted tutoring, on-site workshops, and the creation of peer consultation networks to provide an integrated clinical program. The Pune program will conclude with a three-day workshop covering any areas that were not fully treated in the web-based curriculum.

The pilot program was funded in part by a grant from Stichting AIDS Fonds of the Netherlands.