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Call for routine HIV tests

1st December 2010

Health experts say that routine tests should be carried out for the HIV virus in a bid to cut the number of cases that remain undiagnosed.

hiv

Tests should be carried out in casualty wards and GP surgeries, they say, after eight pilot projects were carried out across England in areas that have a high rate of HIV infections found some cases were being missed.

The study also found that 95% of patients in a casualty ward and nearly 97% in a GP surgery thought testing for HIV was a good idea.

Dr Ian Williams of the British HIV association said: “The later people are diagnosed with HIV, the more difficult and expensive it is to treat them, the poorer their outcome may be, and the more likely they are to have transmitted the infection.”

The call follows a Health Protection Agency (HPA) study that revealed more than 50% of all HIV cases last year were diagnosed late.

Estimates suggest there are 86,500 people in the UK with HIV but 21,000 may not know they have the virus.

Public health minister Ann Milton said: “Earlier diagnosis means people can start treatment as soon as possible and live a near normal life.

“It also helps prevent spreading the virus, so it’s good news that people are happy to be tested and we can pick up cases of HIV that could otherwise be missed or found much later.”

Pregnant women and those attending a clinic for sexually transmitted diseases are automatically offered a test for HIV.

 

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