These guidelines are intended to facilitate an increase in HIV testing in all healthcare settings as recommended by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers and Chief Nursing Officers [1–4] in order to reduce the proportion of individuals with undiagnosed HIV infection, with the aim of benefiting both individual and public health. Misconceptions remain regarding HIV testing that hinder increased testing. In particular, many clinicians believe that lengthy pre-test counselling is required prior to testing. These guidelines provide the information needed to enable any clinician to perform an HIV test within good clinical practice and encourage ’normalisation‘ of HIV testing.
For this change in approach to be beneficial and ethically acceptable, it is imperative that following a positive HIV diagnosis, a newly diagnosed individual is immediately linked into appropriate HIV treatment and care.
This guidance refers to both diagnostic testing of individuals presenting with ‘clinical indicator diseases’ (i.e. where HIV infection enters the differential diagnosis) and opportunistic screening of populations where this is indicated on the basis of prevalence data. We also include an appendix on the provision of community-based HIV testing (Appendix 3).
It must be emphasised that in the UK, HIV testing remains voluntary and confidential. This is entirely possible within any healthcare setting if these guidelines are followed.
UK National Guidelines for HIV Testing 2008
Table 1 (Clinical indicator diseases for adult HIV infection) and Table 2 (Clinical indicator diseases for paediatric HIV infection)
Letter from Dr Mary Armitage, Immediate Past Clinical Vice President, Royal College of Physicians (RCP)
Press Release for the UK National Guidelines for HIV Testing 2008
Consultation comments on the UK National Guidelines for HIV Testing 2008