Although HIV and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are traditionally thought of as two very different health challenges, some of the systems, tools and approaches developed for HIV programs could be used for NCDs as well, according to an article published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

The availability of treatment has transformed HIV into a chronic condition, and local HIV program in low- and middle-income countries have the capability to support continuity care. For example, the appointment books, defaulter tracking, patient counseling, medical records, standardized treatment protocols, referral networks, and linkages to laboratory and pharmacy services available through HIV clinics—and all critical for continuity care—could be used for diabetes and hypertension services.

“Strengthening health systems to deliver continuity care is likely to enhance the performance of both HIV and NCD programs and is a shared priority,” the article concludes.

1. Rabkin M, Nishtar S. Scaling up chronic care systems: Leveraging HIV programs to support noncommunicable disease services. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 2011; 57: s87-s90. (open access)