WASHINGTON--For the first time ever, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is working to establish treatment guidelines for an illness that is primarily medical, but that has psychiatric complications. At the association's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., this week, an APA workgroup will submit the first draft of Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Persons with HIV Infection and AIDS it plans to publish for national dissemination in 2000.
Over the past 10 years, the APA has published numerous practice guidelines for conditions such as major depression, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease, but never for a primarily medical illness. The new guidelines will mark the first national effort to establish the standard of psychiatric care for persons affected by HIV and AIDS.
The workgroup comprises national experts from institutions including Emory University, Brown University, Columbia University, Harvard Medical School, University of Miami School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown University in the area of clinical management of neuropsychiatric, psychiatric and psychosocial treatment of persons with HIV/AIDS. Stephen McDaniel, M.D., Emory University associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, chairs the workgroup. Dr. McDaniel is founder and director of mental health services at the Ponce de Leon Center, one of the largest and most comprehensive outpatient HIV treatment facilities in the country, jointly operated by Emory University School of Medicine and Grady Memorial Hospital. Located in midtown Atlanta, the center serves nearly 4,000 patients infected with HIV. In 1995 the APA awarded the center's mental health program its highest award for clinical service delivery, the Gold Achievement Award.
"This is an important move for the APA to endorse practice guidelines
for persons with HIV/AIDS," says Dr. McDaniel. "Although the APA has provided
national leadership for the past
Contact: Sarah Goodwin
Emory University Health Sciences Center