Early HIV diagnosis saves lives: Join us in the fight against HIV

With early diagnosis and prompt treatment, people living with HIV can lead normal lives.1 However, a major challenge for the UK remains the timely diagnosis of HIV in order to start lifesaving treatment and prevent onward transmission. Two out of five people newly diagnosed with HIV are diagnosed at a late stage and this statistic remains stubbornly high.2

Author: The HIV in Primary Care working group

Added on: 22/11/2016

Tags: HIV Testing, Primary Care

Change will not happen overnight; but a commitment to test is the first start – and once you start you will find that it is easy and quick to do. Help us change the face of HIV by signaling your commitment to the campaign by signing up to our new pledge. Help us spread the word by sharing it with your colleagues and inspire them to join the testing movement, and start your testing today.

Individuals most at risk of late diagnoses are those who do not engage with sexual health services, most often because they do not consider themselves to be at risk. However, many of these patients commonly present to their GP with signs or symptoms related to HIV and a simple intervention like HIV testing in primary care can ultimately save lives.

The #ChangeTheFaceOfHIV campaign is a crucial step towards helping us meet this objective. Our goal is to normalise HIV testing in primary care to pick up cases of HIV earlier, when the chances for successful treatment are much greater.

As GPs we often underestimate HIV prevalence and we are unsure of what symptoms to look out for; we worry about patients’ reaction to the offer of a test and our medico-legal responsibilities following a positive result, and for these reasons we can sometimes shy away from initiating the test conversation.

As part of our mission to establish and grow the community of GPs committed to reducing late diagnosis, we are delighted to introduce the new-look national #ChangeTheFaceOfHIV website complete with downloadable educational and training resources to support you and your colleagues to consider HIV testing.

Remember that we have a real opportunity to make a significant difference in someone’s life so, don’t think twice, think test and let’s work collaboratively to put HIV testing on the radar.

UK/HIV/0021/16(1)a, November 2016

References

1. May M, Gompels M, Delpech V, et al. (2014). Impact on life expectancy of HIV-1 positive individuals of CD4+ cell count

and viral load response to antiretroviral therapy. AIDS. 28(8):1193-1202.

2. Public Health England: HIV New Diagnoses, Treatment and Care in the UK. 2015 report, published October 2015.