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African HIV patients go undiagnosed

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African HIV patients living in the UK are missing out on life saving diagnosis by GPs, according to a study published today.

Of the 263 HIV-positive patients from Africa surveyed, 50% were given late diagnosis of the disease, despite coming from countries with high HIV risk.

Over 80% who were later diagnosed with HIV had not discussed testing with their GP.

The study, funded by biomedical research charity, Wellcome Trust, was conducted by Dr Fiona Burns at the Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research, University College London.

Dr Burns said: “People are dying because they are not being tested early enough. We need to be in a position where GPs are prepared to discuss HIV risks and offer HIV tests as a matter of course to people from at-risk communities.”

Around 63,500 adults in the UK live with HIV.

If diagnosed before symptoms show, HIV can become a liveable condition rather than a fatal illness. If diagnosed late, HIV patients are 14 times more likely to die within a year.

www.wellcome.ac.uk

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