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'Commission GPwSIs for HIV services'

A report circulated to all PCTs urges them to commission GPs with a special interest in HIV to take the pressure off hospital services.

The report, from the Terrance Higgins Trust, says PCTs should set up specialist HIV outpatient departments to improve the primary care of HIV patients. It also argues GPs should be given a much more central role in the provision of sexual health services.

Paul Ward, deputy chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said that as people with HIV survive longer, specialist services are becoming increasingly overstretched.

'Some patients with HIV will get their primary care from their GP but far too many are still going to specialist services,' he said.

He acknowledged that some GPs would not feel confident dealing with the care of HIV patients, but said the current situation was not an efficient use of resources.

The report says that as part of a larger role in sexual health, GPs should become more involved in testing for HIV and other STIs.

'We're conscious of all the pressures on GPs,' said Mr Ward, 'but we think there is scope for GPs to have more involvement.'

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