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Patients with suspected glandular fever ‘should be tested for HIV’

All patients presenting with glandular fever-like symptoms should be tested for HIV, say UK researchers.

The authors looked at samples from 1,046 patients submitted to Guy's and St Thomas' from primary care, with or without a concomitant HIV request.

They found an overall prevalence of HIV of 1.3%, which accounted for 11 patients that were diagnosed with HIV. Five came from patients who were submitted with a concomitant HIV request, and six from those without one.

Of the 11 patients, only three were spotted in primary care as being HIV positive, meaning eight cases were missed at the initial GP consultation.

Study lead Dr Murad Ruf, assistant director of health protection for NHS Lambeth, said: ‘Assuming each test costs £10, the cost per diagnosis of primary HIV infection is £2,310. The lifetime treatment cost of one patient is estimated to be around £280,000 to £360,000.

‘Diagnosis of primary HIV infection represents a compelling economic argument for universal HIV testing in people presenting with glandular fever-like illness.'

HIV Medicine 2012, online 10 May


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