HIV testing is acceptable when patients registering

HIV testing of all patients registering with a GP practice is acceptable to patients and feasible, especially when combined with other health checks, a UK study has found.

HIV: finger-prick test (Photograph: SPL)
HIV: finger-prick test (Photograph: SPL)

Dr Archana Griffin and colleagues from the Robert Darbishire Practice in central Manchester offered tests to 457 patients and 303 (66 per cent) consented to testing.

Over the course of the 10-month study, the researchers found two new cases of HIV and two cases that were new to UK health services as well.

They also found nine people with hepatitis B, 16 people who had hepatitis C and four with type-2 diabetes.

The researchers said this high uptake rate showed the routine testing of blood-borne viruses was acceptable to primary care patients. They found that uptake was higher among those offered the tests alongside other health checks, such as cholesterol and diabetes screening.

The researchers suggest that this 'normalised' HIV testing as part of a general health check MOT. The findings were presented last month at a Gilead Fellowship Programme Best Practice Sharing Event for HIV and HBV.

Updated guidelines from the Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health (MedFASH) have stressed the importance of considering routine HIV testing as part of new patient checks.

The 2008 UK national guidelines for HIV testing made the same recommendation about testing new patients.

The MedFASH guidelines are set out in the foundation's booklet, 'HIV in Primary Care'.

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