Intended for healthcare professionals


Uptake of HIV screening in genitourinary medicine after change to “opt-out” consent

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 29 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1174
  1. Belinda Stanley, consultant (,
  2. Jane Fraser, senior clinical nurse specialist1,
  3. N H Cox, consultant2
  1. 1 Department of Genitourinary Medicine, North Cumbria Acute Hospitals Trust, Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle CA2 7HY
  2. 2 Department of Dermatology, North Cumbria Acute Hospitals Trust
  1. Correspondence to: B Stanley
  • Accepted 17 January 2003


“Routine” serological testing of patients in genitourinary medicine clinics screens for syphilis but not HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. Viral hepatitis and HIV are transmitted by sexual intercourse. National anonymised data from routine serological tests showed that patients in genitourinary medicine have a higher risk of testing positive for antibodies to HIV than does the general population.1 The national sexual health strategy states that 40% of new patients attending genitourinary medicine clinics should be screened for HIV infection by 2004 and 60% by 2007.2 Anticipating these targets, we audited our testing rates in our clinic and introduced change to increase uptake.

Participants, methods, and results

We examined case notes for 200 consecutive new patients attending genitourinary medicine clinics before August 2001 (100 at each clinic site of the genitourinary medicine department in North Cumbria) for blood tests requested (syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C) and reasons given …

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