Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Targeted HIV Testing

A new guideline issued by the British HIV Association (BHIVA), the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) and the British Infection Society (BIS) has recommended more targeted testing for infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has supported this recommendation. According to HPA estimates around 73,000 people in the UK are infected with HIV with one third of these cases being unaware that they are infected.

To assist with local planning and delivery the HPA have also released prevalence data by Primary Care Trust (PCT). Thirty four PCTs have infections rates greater than 2 cases per 1,000 population. 25 of these are in London with the remaining nine as follows: Blackpool, Bournemouth & Poole, Brighton And Hove City, Heart Of Birmingham, Leicester City, Luton, Manchester, Nottingham City and Salford.

The guideline also recommends universal testing for HIV through sexual health clinics, antenatal services, pregnancy termination services, drug dependency programmes and services for those diagnosed with tuberculosis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and lymphoma.

Action: Clinicians should be aware of these recommendations and be able to sign post patients to local HIV testing services.

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