Background Early diagnosis is an important factor associated with HIV-related mortality, morbidity and onward transmission. The local prevalence is estimated at 7.8 per 1000 population and 61% of patients are diagnosed with a CD4 count of <350. Despite the National HIV testing guidelines being published in 2008, local HIV testing remains low due to lack of resources, funding and clinical awareness.
Objective To pilot routine HIV testing of all medical admissions during National HIV testing week.
Methods General medical admissions during 22nd–30th November 2014 were offered a third generation INSTI HIV point of care test (POCT) the morning after admission. A&E attendees between 9 am and 4 pm on 1st December 2014 (World AIDS day) were also offered POCTs. Basic demographics were collected and analysed with appropriate statistical tests.
Results 141 POCTs were offered in medical admissions; all 126 individuals who accepted (89%) tested negative (64 white British (51%), 10 black African (8%)). 14 refused testing; 9 tested before. 21 individuals were not offered POCTs due to unavailability/ inappropriateness. There was no statistical difference in mean ages or proportion of females/males that accepted or refused testing in this group. 32 patients tested in A&E were all negative (11 black African (34%)).
Discussion There was a high uptake of HIV testing amongst general medical admissions indicating routine testing is very acceptable to patients. Moreover, a younger population group presents in A&E compared to admissions; a significant proportion being Black African origin. This may be an appropriate target group to consider for testing.