An Open Letter to the IDSA/HIVMA Board and Members
Numerous questions have been posed to the Academy office recently regarding the relationship between AAHIVM and IDSA's HIV Medical Association (HIVMA). Many of those conversations ended with members of both organizations encouraging thetwo organizations to work together. The board, staff, and members of AAHIVM completely agree. We have far more areas where we agree than disagree, and resources for any HIV organization are far too scarce to expend on political posturing.
The main area of disagreement is on credentialing. IDSA's HIVMA has already stated in their February 2001 newsletter, "Given the rapid pace of change in HIV medicine, board certification in infectious diseases and pediatric infectious diseases does not guarantee sufficient knowledge to assure that an ID Specialist will remain an expert in HIV disease over time." Yet, until December HIVMA has publicly stated that it does not support creation of a specialty or subspecialty in HIV, and in its December 2001 newsletter HIVMA stated that it does not support the Academy's credentialing process. Although unfortunate, these choices do not change our goal of cooperating to improve HIV health care.
We continue to encourage our members to support both organizations and to aid the staff and board of AAHIVM to build bridges between the organizations. Recent attempts to do so have not been successful. In June 2001, IDSA's HIVMA publiclyopposed credentialing and AAHIVM itself in an important public meeting hosted by the California Department of Managed Healthcare. In September 2001, IDSA canceled AAHIVM's booth space at the IDSA convention just weeks before theconference. Misleading and incorrect quotes regarding our initiatives and policies, such as those published in the December 2001/January 2002 HIVMA newsletter, have not aided the process of coordinating our efforts or improving communication.
Invitations to meet had gone unanswered until the 9th Retrovirus Conference in February 2002. Representatives of each board met and suggested mechanisms for regular communication and areas of possible collaboration. In addition, we discussed how both organizations have been exploring the interest of the American Board of Medical Specialties and its member organizations in creating a Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) for HIV Medicine.
Specifically, we made it clear that the Academy has made no decision to pursue the CAQ. Our discussions with the ABMS have simply been to investigate the option. We know that the ABMS's process of recognizing and developing a CAQ in HIV Medicine takes many years, and several questions regarding the final product are still unanswered. Our intention is to ask our members how to proceed, as facts become available as we continue to explore this process over the coming year(s).
We welcome the fact that IDSA's HIVMA is now agreeable to a certification process, and we look forward to working with its members in exploring and defining CAQ requirements. In the meantime, we will continue our credentialing process and other supportive services and hope that IDSA and HIVMA will agree to collaborate on other projects of mutual concern in the future. It is our hope that together we will proceed on these issues and numerous others in improving HIV patient care.
This article was provided by American Academy of HIV Medicine. It is a part of the publication The Nexus. Visit AAHIVM's website to find out more about their activities and publications.