Testing for HIV

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HIV is now a treatable medical condition and the majority of those living with the virus remain fit and well on treatment. Despite this, a significant number of people in the UK are unaware of their HIV infection, remaining at risk of passing on their virus unwittingly to others, and of failing to benefit from treatment themselves.

Late diagnosis is the most important factor associated with HIV-related morbidity and mortality in the UK. Testing for HIV infection is often not performed even when it is clinically indicated and this contributes to missed or late diagnosis.

This guideline was prepared on behalf of the HIV Testing Guidelines Writing Committee and summarises the recommendations from the UK national guidelines for HIV testing 2008. It aims to raise awareness in healthcare professionals of the clinical indications for HIV testing. The guidelines provide the information needed to enable any doctor, midwife, nurse or trained healthcare worker to perform an HIV test within good clinical practice and encourage ‘normalisation’ of HIV testing.

This guideline was also published in Clinical Medicine, volume 9 issue 5.