Description: This handbook on the management of HIV patients is meant to be in the white coat pocket and accessible at the bedside or in the exam room. It is a nice print reference, ideal for quick reference, and set up for fast answers.
Purpose: The authors report that the purpose of this book is to provide "time-strapped clinicians" with need-to-know information that is easily accessible, rapidly viewable, and up-to-date, in order to raise the standards of care and improve patient safety. Worthy objectives, well met.
Audience: The book is intended for clinicians, mostly for use at bedside or in the exam room, and is targeted at those in all specialties who are involved in the care of patients with HIV. The authors are standout experts in the field.
Features: Using "extraordinary economy of language," the book is composed of five sections, each with a clinical focus. The best aspect of the book is the differential diagnosis review presented with symptoms or medication questions. A unique feature is the presentation of short pearls for each area of clinical concern or diagnosis. If there is a shortcoming, it is one inherent in a print book clinical information is updated so rapidly that it can quickly become inaccurate. For example, sections on soporifics fail to mention new data with mortality concerns on page 128, the SSRI doses on page 125 now exceed guidelines born of QT interval prolongation concern, and I would maintain that chemotherapeutic agents in the drug chapter are beyond the scope of most HIV clinicians without consultation. I am not sure that the fifth section, an appendix outlining drug-drug interactions, is worth the increased weight and girth of an otherwise handy, portable book.
Assessment: If you are caring for patients living with HIV and you need a book that is accessible and comprehensive with an easy-to-use format, to ensure a complete differential diagnosis and patient safety, then this is the book. The fresh, timely, just-the-facts format makes it a pleasure to reach for, and leaves me, as a caregiver, more comfortable that I am on the right track with my patients.