Opt-out HIV testing is being launched on Friday 1 April in emergency departments in London. This means all patients who come into A&E (accident and emergency) are routinely tested for HIV when having other blood tests unless they say not to.
This new HIV testing approach is launching in hospitals across London as part of the Government’s goal of ending new HIV cases by 2030, which was announced on World AIDS Day in December last year.
Chief Executive Ian Green said: ‘The expansion of opt-out HIV testing in emergency departments is an important step change when it comes to reaching our life-changing goal of ending new HIV cases by 2030. We need to be testing more people, more often in order to find the estimated 4,660 people living with undiagnosed HIV in the UK.
‘In London hospitals where opt-out testing has been piloted, those diagnosed were more likely to be heterosexual women of Black ethnicity, and older than those diagnosed in sexual health clinics. This shows the clear role opt-out HIV testing will play in tackling health inequalities and driving us all – regardless of gender, ethnicity, age or sexuality – towards ending new HIV cases by 2030.
‘This approach to HIV testing clearly works and we now need to see it rolled out not just in Manchester, London, Brighton and Salford, but in the next tranche of high prevalence areas. For example, hospitals in Southampton, Derby and Liverpool. Because the clock is already ticking down towards 2030 and we can’t afford to be conservative with just eight years to reach the goal.’