London trust becomes first to introduce routine HIV testing in A&E department
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust will conduct HIV tests on all patients having blood tests in its emergency department
A London trust has become the first in the UK to test all patients having blood tests in its emergency department for HIV.
It is hoped the new policy, which was introduced at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust yesterday, will lead to earlier diagnosis of the HIV virus.
In 2014, 68,000 patients had blood tests at St Thomas’ Hospital and it is expected the routine HIV testing will identify more than 150 additional cases.
Late diagnosis reduces life expectancy and increases the risk of ongoing transmission.
Joel Paparello, a deputy charge nurse in the trust’s HIV outpatient clinic, said: ‘Our proactive approach will lead to quicker diagnosis and will help ensure patients with HIV receive the specialist care and treatment they need.’
All patients aged 16 years and above who are having their blood tested will also be tested for HIV unless they choose to opt out.
There are an estimated 107,800 people living with HIV in the UK and of these, nearly a quarter (24%) are undiagnosed.