Late diagnosis of HIV infection remains a major barrier to tackling HIV. UK HIV testing guidelines recommend universal testing of all new registrants attending general practice (GP) where local HIV prevalence exceeds 2/1000. HIV prevalence in our city was 1.1/1000 with pockets of high prevalence centred on 6 zones of deprivation. We targeted GP practices in these areas to undertake routine HIV testing after in-house training and ascertained healthcare professionals’ (HCP’s) views in relation to HIV testing in primary care before and after training.Methods
13 GP practices in 6 high prevalence areas were approached alongside public health to undertake routine HIV testing, with remuneration and training, delivered as a lecture and discussion. Pre and post -training questionnaires were done assessing attitudes and knowledge around testing.Results
7 GP practices accepted. Pre and post training responses (49 in total) reported increased confidence around when to offer testing (40%), discussing testing (20%), and awareness of national guidelines (63%). Increased numbers offered tests to MSM (39%), patients from high risk countries (29%), and for indicator conditions (14%). The number of HCP’s offering testing in the preceding month increased by 20%. Reasons for declining testing remained unchanged (83% self-perceived low risk, 50% stigma concerns) as were practical barriers which were predominantly time restraints.Discussion
Targeted training improved key areas of understanding and built confidence around routine HIV testing among local GP practices. Perceived barriers to testing and reasons that patients declined testing remained unaltered after training.