Linda Panton
Clinical Nurse Specialist, Regional Infectious Diseases Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh

Welcome to the autumn issue of HIV Nursing. As I write this editorial, the NHIVNA annual conference seems a distant memory. It is always inspirational to come across like-minded nurses in the same field sharing their expertise and knowledge, and innovative ideas. Unfortunately we are all under growing pressure to increase productivity with decreased manpower, yet endeavour to maintain high standards of care. As a result we tend to allocate less time to evaluate and audit our work, unless it is performance-related, in which case it becomes a necessity simply to justify funding. However, we all entered nursing, first and foremost, to care for patients, and we must continue to participate in research, even on a small scale, to guide quality improvement. At conference, there was a noticeable decrease in the number of abstracts submitted, and there is no doubt that this is due to the increased pressures that nurses are under, finding little or no time to write about any audits, new policies and guidelines, or research in which they have been involved. I would like to take this opportunity to urge you all to share your innovations and developments, as it will ultimately benefit people living with HIV around the country.
The theme of this issue is Hard-to-reach at-risk groups and vulnerable populations. As a nation, we are working hard to increase HIV testing to reduce the transmission rate; however, we continue to see a rise in HIV diagnoses, particularly amongst MSM and heterosexuals. In 2013, some 81,510 people in the UK were known to be living with HIV. Unfortunately, another 26,100 (24% of the estimated total) are unaware that they are also living with the virus [1]. Read more. . .