Hepatitis C and HIV treatment available here

Times have changed - a lot. Hepatitis C can now be cured in most cases, and HIV has become a treatable and manageable chronic condition.

The trouble is that there is not not a single GP in the entire Goulburn Valley who is authorised to prescribe HIV or hepatitis C medication - until now. Dr Munis Letchumanan has already completed special training and prescribes the new "direct acting agents" (DAAs) against hepatitis C, and Dr Alwin Hoelzl will soon attend special training that will enable him to prescribe HIV treatment (antiretrovirals) at Shepparton Medical Centre. The two GPs are being supported by the Royal Melbourne Hospital specialist physician Tom Schulz. We are also linked in with local and statewide support organisations such as Living Positive Victoria and Hepatitis Victoria.

One of the very reasons the University of Melbourne Shepparton Medical Centre exists is to ensure that our community has the same access to healthcare as our urban counterparts. That's one of the reasons the University provides financial support for a visiting psychiatrist, neurologist, infectious diseases physician, and mental health worker to regularly work in the practice, and that's why we're developing our skills in areas where we see a need.

Just a note on confidentiality: Sometimes, our patients are worried about confidentiality in rural / regional towns, particularly if they have experienced stigma or discrimination. We assure you that we take confidentiality extremely seriously. You can always ask your GP to restrict access to your medical record so that only your preferred GP can see the notes. Please understand that this can complicate communication and team care, particularly the involvement of nurses, or even other doctors while your preferred doctor is on holiday.

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