Background Prevention of infection with the blood-borne pathogens (BBPs) HIV and hepatitis B and C remains a major public health challenge. The aim of this study was to assess the activity, knowledge and attitudes of community pharmacists in Grampian in prevention of HIV and hepatitis B and C.
Method A questionnaire survey of community pharmacies was carried out in Grampian, a mixed urban-rural Health Board area in NE Scotland with a population of 532 432.
Results Ninety-nine out of 128 (77 per cent) community pharmacies responded. Many pharmacies were providing services for drug misusers. Nearly all pharmacies stocked condoms, 57 pharmacists stated that they stocked extra-strong condoms, and two stocked dental dams. Two-thirds had leaflets relating to safer sex, HIV or hepatitis. Less than half stated that they had lists of local agencies dealing with drug-related or sexual health problems. Knowledge of the BBPs, and confidence in giving advice, were greater for HIV than for hepatitis B and C. Few were aware of recommendations for hepatitis B vaccination. The majority felt that in the future pharmacists could have a greater role in prevention of these infections. Principal barriers to preventive activity were described as time pressure, lack of a private area and lack of training.
Conclusions There is untapped potential for community pharmacists to be a focus for advice and information relating to prevention of HIV and hepatitis B and C; however, resources are needed to address the current barriers identified.
- INJECTING DRUG-USERS