The UK’s first service for people living with HIV that allows them to recommend healthcare providers to others and find recommended services themselves has been launched.

The initiative by HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust and healthcare recommendation site iWantGreatCare will enable people living with HIV to find and recommend healthcare services that are sensitive to their needs.

A 2008 study found that one in five people with HIV had experienced discrimination in the last year from GPs or other healthcare professionals.

Terrence Higgins Trust’s partnership with iWantGreatCare creates the UK’s first patient-generated resource for people with HIV to share healthcare recommendations. It allows people coming through the charity’s interactive members’ website myHIV to submit confidential ratings and reviews recommending healthcare professionals, as well as the overall facilities.

These detailed recommendations will then help others with HIV find the best local healthcare providers that have been directly endorsed by someone living with the condition.

By registering on the myHIV website, people with HIV can also privately store health and treatment information, access online counselling and advice, and gain 24-hour community support.

Among the questions users are asked are whether they trusted the doctor, whether he or she listened and whether they would recommend them.

Garry Brough, Membership Officer for Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “Due to continuing high levels of stigma around HIV, people with the condition are often concerned about confidentiality and potential discrimination, even in healthcare settings.

“Our collaboration with iWantGreatCare will finally allow people with HIV to find and recommend local services which are sensitive to their their needs, and signpost healthcare professionals who are already providing high-quality support to people with HIV.”

Dr. Neil Bacon, founder and CEO of iWantGreatCare, said: “Finding a great doctor can make a huge difference to the lives of HIV patients. This partnership is a powerful way for people with HIV to directly benefit from others’ experiences and to find the very best care they can – whether that be finding a GP or a dentist.

“The detailed information being submitted is highlighting excellent care, whist helping patients avoid services that have provided a poor experience to their peers. The partnership with the Terence Higgins Trust heralds a new way of sharing uniquely valuable information and harnessing the wisdom of patients to improve quality standards as well as openness in healthcare.”

For more information, visit www.myhiv.org.uk.