HIV Manual 2007 is an updated edition of the HIV manual which was first published by the Integrated Treatment Centre of the Department of Health in 2001. The latter had replaced earlier publications: AIDS Manual for Doctors and Dentists (1995), and Information on AIDS for Doctors and Dentists, 1987 and 1992. More than a simple update, the new manual has been extensively rewritten, based on clinical practice of many institutions that have been involved in the management of HIV/AIDS in Hong Kong.

This manual makes no pretensions to a textbook on the subject but does aim at giving medical practitioners a synopsis of HIV medicine as it is today. Since 1996, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has become a hallmark of HIV treatment strategy. HIV/AIDS is now a chronic manageable condition. In parallel, HIV medicine is emerging as a medical subspecialty that embraces the principles of evidence-based practice. In the new manual, HIV-specific treatment has continued to assume a central position. New knowledge in the last five years has, however, demanded us to address new issues like: the public health role of clinical HIV treatment, primary care perspectives, HIV treatment complications, and the challenges of managing immune reconstitution. Readers may sense the public health perspectives integrated in some of the chapters, a move that acknowledges the multidisciplinary nature of HIV medicine to beyond clinical service provision.

The manual has grown in size, from 30 chapters in the last edition to 39 in the current version. Algorithms of management have continued to be a key feature of this Manual, which helps to serve as a handy reference in unexpected encounter with problems related to HIV, which are becoming less uncommon nowadays. A web version is available, which complements the functioning of a hard copy. HIV medicine is progressing at rapid pace. Clinicians and public health physicians are urged to keep abreast of scientific development in supporting professional decision making.

Finally, is there a specific role for a local manual? In this era of information explosion, some may argue that there is no lack of treatment guidance from bookshops or the internet. In designing this Manual, we are hoping to bring a local perspective to HIV management. Optimisation of HIV management cannot be grafted from literature, but needs to be field based. This Manual aims therefore to provide a thoughtful assimilation of lessons for practitioners in Hong Kong and beyond.

The editors
March 2007