In a forward thinking move a London hospital has created an opt out system with all patients getting blood tests also receiving a screening HIV test.
As noted in Pink News:
St Thomas’ Hospital will become the first in the UK to take the proactive new approach – which means that standard practice will be to test emergency patients for HIV, as part of routine blood tests.
Every patient over the age of 16 who is already having their blood tested will be tested for HIV at the same time, unless they choose to opt out.
It is hoped that including HIV tests in routine blood screening will help to identify the large number of people with HIV who are unaware of their status, who would not otherwise be tested.It is thought that around 107,800 people are living with HIV in the UK and of these 24% are undiagnosed.
Clinical lead for HIV at Guy’s and St Thomas’, Dr Nick Larbalestier, said: “Normalising HIV testing will undoubtedly save lives. Just as we use blood tests to check for other medical conditions such as diabetes, we know that routine testing for HIV will identify undiagnosed cases.
With increased testing it is hoped to be able to help people yet to be diagnosed to learn their status as well as being able to decide if they wish to move towards treatment of this HIV infection.
Dr George Forgan-Smith