Conducting routine HIV screenings at GP surgeries, emergency departments and health centres that attract at-risk people is cost-effective, a group of experts have said.
The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) and other experts’ findings were drawn from the results of a number of pilot projects and have been presented at the Time to Test conference in London.
Experts also stated their concern that “preconceived ideas” which health professionals have about their patients has led to over half of HIV cases being routinely diagnosed late.
The conference marked the completion of a number of HIV-testing pilot projects sponsored by the Department of Health, the results of which “increase the evidence base for routine HIV testing in areas with a high prevalence of HIV”, according to a joint statement from the organisers of the conference, which included the BASHH, the British HIV Association (BHIVA), the Health Protection Agency (HPA), the Children’s HIV Association (CHIVA), the Department of Health (DH), the HIV Pharmacy Association (HIVPA), the National HIV Nurses’ Association (NHIVNA), and the Royal College of Physicians.
President of the Royal College of Physicians, Professor Richard Thompson, said: “As patterns of transmission change and the number of local areas with a high prevalence of HIV continues to remain high, clinical teams and commissioners need to be more proactive in their efforts to get patients into treatment early.”