A hospital will be offering HIV testing to all patients aged 16 and over, as part of their routine blood tests.
Croydon currently has one of the highest rates of HIV in the UK (six in 1,000), and the fourth highest rate of late diagnosis in London.
This new approach at the Emergency Department (ED) at Croydon University aims to increase early diagnosis rates in the borough, and lead to timely treatment of the virus.
The new process will see routine HIV screening of all patients who require a blood test as part of their treatment in the 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 a 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 more than two in 1,000.
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.”
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