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HIV Infection

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 29 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to encourage general practitioner surgeries in areas with high levels of HIV/AIDS to include an HIV test in their registration health checks; and if he will make a statement. (295562)

As part of the work the Department is undertaking to reduce the level of undiagnosed HIV in the population, and to make HIV testing outside specialist centres more routine, we are funding eight pilot projects (four in London) in a variety of settings to examine the feasibility and acceptability of HIV testing. The settings chosen include general practitioner surgeries, and we will be undertaking an evaluation of the pilots to determine their wider implementation.

This work follows publication of the UK National Guidelines for HIV Testing (2008) by the British HIV Association, British Association of Sexual Health and HIV and the British Infection Society. The work is also supported by the documents, “HIV in Primary Care” (2005), and “HIV for non-HIV specialists”, (2008), both published by the Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health. Additionally, in September 2007, the chief medical officer and chief nursing officer wrote to all doctors and nurses, highlighting best practice about offering HIV testing, where appropriate, in all healthcare settings.

The chief medical officer sent a further letter to Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties of Medicine in September 2009, encouraging them to take further action to diagnose HIV outside specialist settings.