From today all patients aged 16 and over, who attend the Emergency Department (ED) at Croydon University Hospital , will have an HIV test as part of their routine blood tests.
Croydon currently has one of the highest rates of HIV in the UK (6 in 1000) and the fourth highest rate of late diagnosis in London. This new approach aims to increase early diagnosis rates in the borough and lead to timely treatment of the virus for those who test positive.
The new process will see routine HIV screening of all patients who require a blood test as part of their treatment in the Emergency Department. Those who do not wish to be tested will have the opportunity to opt-out at the point of testing.
Patients that test positive will then be referred to our dedicated HIV team for confirmatory testing and ongoing care.
The benefits of routine HIV testing include:
- Earlier diagnosis and more successful treatment results
- Fewer instances of misdiagnosis of conditions with similar symptoms
- Fewer and shorter hospitals stays
- Improved health outcomes and lower risk of transmission within communities
- Reduced need for costly drugs and healthcare
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend testing is offered to all patients in areas where prevalence of HIV is over 2 in 1000. People diagnosed later are more likely to require hospital admission and become seriously ill.
Medical Director Dr Nnenna Osuji said: “Our move to routine testing in our ED will mean that those people who are unaware that they are living with HIV can be identified and offered treatment for the virus as soon as possible.
“We are following the success of other NHS Trusts and our previous successful pilots, in making sure that our community have access to first class HIV treatment and support.
“With the advances of medicine in recent years, people with HIV can continue to live healthy lives and with the introduction of routine testing, we hope to be able to reduce the spread of the infection, pick up infection before it is symptomatic and ultimately save lives in our local and wider communities.”