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Tuesday 24th April 2018

GPs get proactive with HIV tests

7th December 2007

Experts have urged GPs and other health professionals to be more proactive in offering at-risk groups HIV tests.

A study carried out by researchers from The University College London looked at 263 HIV-positive African patients in the UK and found half were diagnosed late despite above average use of services.

The AIDS journal reported that in 80% of these cases, the issue of HIV testing had not been discussed with a doctor.

Lead researcher Dr Fiona Burns said: “What we are seeing here is a failing to utilise opportunities for earlier diagnosis of HIV. 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 tests as a matter of course to people from at-risk communities.?

Latest figures show that there are more than 63,000 adults living with HIV in the UK, and of those it is believed that two thirds have been infected via heterosexual sex.

The Terrence Higgins Trust said it thought doctors were worried about suggesting tests because they feel it may offend their patient because of the stigma.

Lisa Power from the trust added: “But I think GPs should be encouraged to broach this subject and patients should be made aware that it is fine to be asked.?

The Royal College of GPs said GPs have an important role in increasing levels of HIV testing and needed to be proactive about raising the issue of HIV testing with people who may have been at risk.


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