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HIV testing to be offered to all medical patients

Manchester Royal Infirmary, part of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, have started a new initiative to identify patients who are undiagnosed as HIV Positive.  From Monday 6th June, all patients admitted to the Medical Assessment Unit will now be asked for their permission to be tested for HIV.  When a patient is admitted, they have routine blood tests performed that test a range of things from kidney function to blood group.  Now, if they give their permission, they will also be tested for HIV.  


In Manchester, 4.47 people in every 1,000 are HIV positive.  With such a high prevalence rate - and the fact that many people deem themselves low risk - the hope is that by offering it to all medical patients we will be able to diagnose those patients that would not necessarily think to request a HIV test.


Dr Darren Cousins, the specialist registrar who is leading the implementation said: "By making the test as normal as possible alongside other medical investigations, what we're trying to do is reduce the stigma overall.


"We are not choosing particular groups over other groups and we're saying it's a general good health measure to actually have an HIV test."


He added: "HIV is a disease where if you pick it up early then you don't need to die from it.  If we pick it up early then we can offer people treatment and make sure that their life expectancy is the same as it would be if they were HIV negative."


The Chief Medical Officer wrote to all NHS trusts in 2008 to recommend that all patients are offered the test.

  • Each test will cost under £1.00 and results take 48 hours.
  • The Medical Assessment Unit treats approximately 1000 patients per month.
  • We will eventually aim to test all patients coming into the hospital, including surgical patients.