GPs ask how HIV diagnoses are to be recorded

Clarification is needed over how GPs handle information about patients' HIV status, say experts.

There are concerns that, once HIV status is entered in electronic records, the information could become known to non-clinical staff, say Dr Nadja van Ginneken and Dr Mo Doshi in a feature in this week's GP.

Dr William Ford-Young, chairman of the RCGP sex, drugs and HIV working party, said: 'Surgeries need to look very carefully at confidentiality and how much data they allow non-clinical staff to see. I think there are questions about what information is going on the NHS spine.'

However, it is vital that any doctor treating a patient with HIV is aware of their status, he added.

Vanessa Griffiths, clinical director of the Terrence Higgins Trust, agreed that it is vital GPs know a patient's HIV status and whether or not they are receiving highly active retroviral therapy.

Connecting for Health clinical director Dr Simon Eccles said practices would be able to stop non-clinical staff seeing HIV data and patients could prevent anyone seeing it without consent.

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