An opt-out testing study: The Royal London Hospital

Rachel Bath
Clinical Nurse Specialist, Barts Health NHS Trust, UK

In 2008 BHIVA’s testing guidelines advocated routine opt-out HIV testing for all patients registering with a general practice; and for all admissions to acute medical units, where the prevalence of diagnosed HIV infection exceeds 2 per 1000 [1].
During 2009 to 2010 the Department of Health (DH) and Health Protection Agency (HPA) funded the HIV Testing in Non-traditional Settings (HINTS) study [2]. The aim was to look at the feasibility and acceptability to staff and patients of routinely offering HIV tests in four contexts: acute admissions, emergency, general practice and clinic [3]. This review involved opt-out testing in eight nontraditional settings across the UK, and the key finding across all study sites was that routinely offering tests to patients is operationally feasible and acceptable to patients and staff [2].
However, apart from these pilot studies, expansion of opt-out HIV testing to non-traditional UK settings is not well documented, and the need for increased testing remains significant. Read more…