The Associated Press
WASHINGTON Ä The federal government is opening a toll-free telephone number Monday to provide treatment information by telephone or computer to people with AIDS, their families and health care providers.
The HIV-AIDS Treatment Information Service was scheduled to begin taking calls at 9 a.m. EST. The number is 1-800-HIV-0440 and the hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST Monday through Friday.
The service will be staffed by health information specialists who are fluent in English and Spanish. Deaf access is included, and all calls are confidential.
The service's staff will not provide treatment advice. Staffers will, however, provide information the latest research and treatment options to physicians and patients who call.
"In addition to assisting health care providers, the AIDS Treatment Information Service will help people
living with HIV-AIDS extend and improve the quality of their lives by helping them make informed decisions about their health care with their providers," said Philip L. Lee, the director of the U.S. Public Health Service.
The service's data base, which is housed at the National Library of Medicine, will be updated to include all federally approved HIV and AIDS treatment information.
The data base can be accessed free via computer. Users can call 1-800-272-4787 for directions on how to access the system with their computer.
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