Intended for healthcare professionals


More people should be tested for HIV to reduce late diagnosis and prevent deaths, say guidelines

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 05 October 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4058
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

    One third of deaths related to HIV in the United Kingdom could be prevented if testing for the disease were more widespread and more socially acceptable, says a summary of guidelines published on 1 October (Clinical Medicine 2009;9:471-6). The guidelines aim to facilitate earlier diagnosis of HIV by encouraging healthcare workers to carry out HIV tests on a wider range of people than is traditionally considered to be at high risk of infection.

    The guidelines say that HIV tests should be offered to everyone who accesses sexual health services; antenatal and abortion services; drug dependency programmes; and healthcare services for people diagnosed as having tuberculosis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and lymphoma. Tests should also be routinely offered to anyone who presents with other clinical indicators for HIV infection or with an identified risk factor for HIV whenever they access healthcare services.

    “Many people in the UK are infected with HIV but …

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