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Philippa Matthews

  • Every missed HIV diagnosis is a failure of care

    Philippa Matthews's comment 22 Dec 2016 5:53pm

    It’s disappointing – and a missed opportunity – that a practising GP was not invited to write this article about the ethics and medicolegal issues of HIV testing in the general practice setting.

    The undiagnosed proportion of those with HIV in England has fallen steadily over the years from 1 in 3 to a new low of 1 in 8. This fall represents the efforts of many, including many in general practice who normalised HIV testing years ago.

    We must not regress to the darkest days of HIV stigma, as Chloe Orkin, Chair of BHIVA, has pointed out in her comprehensive response. The article undermines the efforts of those of us working hard to bring further increases in HIV testing for a last push to eliminate late diagnosis of HIV in the UK and to minimise new infections through the benefits of bringing treatment to all.

    We fully support Professor Orkin and would be very happy to contribute an alternative article focusing on the health risks to patients and ‘ethicolegal’ risks of failing to diagnose this highly treatable infection.

    Philippa Matthews FRCGP
    Clinical Lead for Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV
    Royal College of General Practitioners