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HIV in primary care

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Late diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is associated with an increased risk of HIV-related morbidity and mortality in the UK. Furthermore, HIV infection rates are increasing.1,2 It is estimated that over a quarter of patients living with HIV are unaware of their HIV status, based on analysis of anonymised seroprevalence surveys.1

To increase the numbers of cases diagnosed at an earlier stage, HIV testing should be offered in primary care routinely to those patients with indicator conditions such as tuberculosis, anyone considered at risk and anyone requesting a test.1 Patients at increased risk include those who have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, men who have sex with men, sex workers, intravenous drug users and people from countries that have a high HIV prevalence, such as many African countries, Haiti and Jamaica.3

Universal HIV testing should be considered in general practice where prevalence in the population is greater than two per 1000.1 In the UK, women are routinely screened for HIV during antenatal care.

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