HIV ‘going undetected

Many HIV patients in the UK and Ireland are not being diagnosed early enough, according to a report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The study, published today, argues that many patients are in the latter stages of their disease when they are diagnosed.

On third of the 977 patients included in the survey were diagnosed with the HIV infection late and this trend was found to be especially common in older patients and black Africans.

In addition, only 41 per cent of these patients were diagnosed as part of routine screening.

Commenting on the findings, the authors of the report said: “We found a significant number of missed opportunities for earlier diagnosis of HIV infection.”

The study argued that healthcare professionals’ need greater awareness of factors linked to late presentation of HIV, in addition to increased awareness of HIV-related conditions.

Researchers concluded that increased offer and uptake of HIV tests as part of routine screening could reduce instances of the disease going undiagnosed.

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Revision date: July 8, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD