• 2Dec

    Good information central to support uptake of HIV testing

    A report launched by Public Health England on World AIDS Day, highlights that in 2015 39% of adults diagnosed with HIV, received their diagnosis at a late stage of HIV infection.

    Their report highlights the need to normalise testing with key communities, through improving information, and communicating that:

    • HIV is no longer a fatal infection but a chronic manageable disease
    • treatment is available that allows the vast majority of people with HIV infection to be considered non-infectious
    • regular HIV testing should be seen as a routine healthy behaviour and it has never been easier to have an HIV test

    The HIV epidemic remains largely concentrated among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, and black African men and women. New NICE Guidance on HIV testing finds that key to promoting awareness and uptake of HIV testing is the provision of information materials that are tailored to the local needs of affected communities and groups, and that:

    • Provide information about HIV infection and transmission, the benefits of HIV testing and the availability of treatment
    • Emphasise that early diagnosis is not only a route into treatment and a way to avoid complications and reduce serious illness in the future, but also reduces onward transmission
    • Detail how and where to access local HIV testing services, including services offering POCT and self-sampling, and sexual health clinics
    • Dispel common misconceptions about HIV diagnosis and treatment
    • Present testing as a responsible act by focusing on trigger points, such as the beginning of a new relationship or change of sexual partner, or on the benefits of knowing one’s HIV status
    • Address the needs of non-English-speaking groups, for example, through translated and culturally sensitive information.