Adults and young people who live in local authority areas where the prevalence of HIV is ranked as ‘extremely high’ may routinely be offered a test for the virus when they are admitted to hospital or attend an A&E department, according to new proposals from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
NICE is also recommending that adults and young people living in ‘high’ or ‘extremely high’ HIV districts should be offered an HIV test when they first register with their GP. They should also be offered a routine HIV test annually.
The proposals come in a NICE draft quality standard for HIV testing, which is out for consultation until 21 April 2017. If the new standard is approved, it will be introduced in August 2017.
Launching the consultation on 27 March 2017, Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “There can still be stigma and fear around having an HIV test. This needs to change so that HIV testing is seen as routine. This new draft quality standard sets out clear, practical steps to help encourage and increase uptake of HIV testing.”
According to Public Health England, there are 20 local authorities where HIV prevalence is classified as ‘extremely high’, which is defined as having more than 5 per 1,000 population aged 15–59 years diagnosed with HIV. Another 54 local authorities have a ‘high’ prevalence of HIV, which is defined as having between 2 and 5 people per 1,000 population aged 15–59 years diagnosed with HIV.
Quality standards traditionally set out an aspirational target or marker based on NICE and other quality driven guidance.