Background The HIV status of children of HIV positive adults in the UK should be known as a matter of urgency. Implementing robust systems to identify and then test this vulnerable group of children remains a challenge.
Aims We present a single service experience of using Electronic Patient Records (EPR) to help identify such children.
Methods A clinical proforma to record the HIV status of all children of all HIV positive adults attending this service was developed on the EPR system in early 2010. Using the EPR Lilie database the records of all adult patients attending the service in 2010 and 2011 were searched for details of the HIV status of their children under 18 years.
Results There were 389 HIV positive patients and 306 children identified. 278 of these children live in the UK. Of these, 242 (87%) had a verified HIV status and 36 (13%) an unverified HIV status. Of the 36 with unverified status, 12 (33%) were said to be HIV tested (negative) but this was unconfirmed, 9 (25%) had an HIV positive father and a mother who was said to be HIV negative but this was unconfirmed. 7 (19%) had been referred to paediatrics for testing and 8 (22%) children were untested for mixed reasons.
Discussion Verifying the HIV status of the children of HIV positive parents is a complex, multidisciplinary exercise requiring excellent documentation and cooperation between different teams. The first crucial step is identifying the at risk children. The proforma in the patient records acted as a prompt to the clinician to obtain this information from the patient. Information was then easily identifiable in the EPR. The results demonstrate the strength of the EPR system. All proformas were completed showing that of our cohort of children living in the UK 87% have verified HIV status and in 13% there is enough information to pursue HIV testing or verification.