This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pulse june2020 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

The waiting game

GP practice pilot will routinely test new patients for HIV

A new pilot scheme will see GP practices routinely testing all new patients for HIV in a bid to improve early detection.

Patients registering at any of the 10 participating GP practices in Coventry will be offered a simple finger prick blood test and get the results in less than a minute.

The pilot, commissioned by Coventry City Council and partners including Birmingham City University and the local trust sexual health service, is going to be evaluated by researchers to explore whether the model could be expanded more widely.

It comes as NICE has recommended that all areas with an HIV prevalence of over two per 1,000 population should increase access to testing, especially in primary care settings, and this model in particular was proposed by a GP sexual health expert.

Birmingham City University associate dean of research and enterprise Professor Alex Kendall said there were ‘two key motivations’ behind the ‘exciting initiative’.

He said: Firstly, we need to understand how effective offering this simple test is in reducing late diagnoses of HIV and secondly, we need to understand what people and health professionals think about offering testing in this way, in order to make sure we are offering the test in the right way.’

Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust sexual health consultant Dr Satyajit Das pointed out that the early detection of HIV has the potential to make a huge differenceboth in reducing rates of transmission and for ensuring the long term health of patients carrying the virus.

He said that despite medication now being very effective at keeping the condition at bay, ‘over half’ of newly-diagnosed patients in Coventry between 2011 and 2013 were diagnosed at such a late stage that they were more likely to suffer severe health complications or even death.

He said: ‘Quite simply, HIV is not the illness it used to be. For thousands of people who have been given a positive diagnosis, HIV is now similar in many ways to other long-term conditions such as high blood pressure, but it is crucial that people come forward for testing.’

Samsung HD TV - win - online

Take Pulse’s June survey

Want to win a Samsung Smart HD TV? Then take Pulse’s multi-topic survey covering a range of areas affecting general practice.

It should take just a couple of minutes to complete, and will help Pulse gain a vital insight into the views of the profession. 


Readers' comments (7)

  • You mean they will routinely *offer* to test. After which they will seek informed consent, by offering the pros & cons, and giving the patient a choice. Or, are there QOF points attached?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Vinci Ho

    I am neutral this . Clearly , HIV is under-diagnosed and has effective therapies these days .But one can argue that is the case to many other conditions .
    But we cannot keep taking on non funded work on board.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Vinci Ho

    ....neutral to this.......

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • No QOF points attached, but is funded by Coventry City Council.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • We are in an area with a relatively high risk, incidence >4/1000, and have been doing this for several years, but with a lab based test.
    Zero new diagnoses. Expensive in time if done properly (pre-test counselling) and does not seem to work.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Do it at Heathrow airport.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • We have been doing this for years and it works, diagnosed a fair few.
    main issues is stigma.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say