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NAT welcomes Time to Test

20th September 2011
The report confirms for the first time that routine, ‘opt-out’ HIV testing is “feasible, acceptable and effective” in a wide range of healthcare and community settings.
 
If implemented, it would see an HIV test offered to everyone signing up to primary care services, and all general hospital admissions, in every high HIV prevalence area across the country.
 
The recommendations follow an analysis of eight testing pilots conducted by the HPA. They found that opt-out testing not only helped reduce undiagnosed HIV but that take-up among patients was high, with staff also happy to provide the test. Routine opt-out testing was also found to be cost-effective.
 
Time to Test comes as last month’s House of Lords Select Committee on HIV and AIDS in the UK backed calls for the expansion of opt-out HIV testing.
 
Yusef Azad, Director of Policy & Campaigns at NAT comments:
 
‘This is an important moment for the UK’s response to HIV.
 
This report proves that opt-out testing can be done, and that it can save both lives and money. The Government, NHS and local authorities must now act jointly to ensure it is put into practice.’
 
HPA’s testing pilots were funded by the Department of Health. They follow recommendations contained in the 2008 UK National Guidelines for HIV Testing, published jointly by the British HIV Association (BHIVA), the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) and the British Infection Society (BIS).

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