Wednesday 29 November 2023
Testing for HIV, Hepatitis B and C will roll out in 46 more emergency departments (ED) in England to build on the effectiveness of the earlier programme in areas of extremely high HIV prevalence. The success of the first phase of opt-out ED testing, a research project from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), has led to the identification of almost 4,000 people with a bloodborne virus since April 2022.
The £20 million expansion of the NIHR research project is expected to save the lives of many more people not yet aware that they have been at risk of HIV or other bloodborne viruses. It will help to achieve the target of preventing new cases of HIV in England by 2030 and will also help to reach people already diagnosed but no longer in care.
Professor Yvonne Gilleece, Chair of the British HIV Association (BHIVA), said:
“We are delighted that this collaboration with the NIHR will be expanded to more than 30 other geographical areas, enabling us to better evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and outcomes of ED testing for HIV and other blood borne viruses.
“In the last 18 months opt-out testing in ED has proved to be a life saver for many and is a key part of the HIV Action Plan led by Professor Kevin Fenton. We can now reach people who would not otherwise be tested and importantly, in addition to new diagnoses, it will help us to find people living with HIV who, for whatever reason, are no longer receiving treatment.”
Click here to view the press release from the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England quoting Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins.