Consultant HIV Nurse, Barts Health NHS Trust
At the end of 2008 it was still apparent from HIV statistics that both late diagnosis (those diagnosed with a CD4 count <350 cells/mm3) and those living with HIV but unaware of their diagnosis were two problematic areas upon which the advances in HIV treatment and prevention had not had any significant impact. A total of 83,000 people were living with HIV of whom an estimated 27% were unaware of their diagnosis and a further 55% were diagnosed late . Particularly significant about these figures were two points: firstly, that they had not significantly changed since reporting had started; and secondly, that many of those diagnosed late had had recent contact with healthcare professionals.
Early testing and diagnosis leads to people potentially living a near normal life expectancy . In contrast, late diagnosis is associated with greater risk of hospitalisation, AIDS-related illness, a reduced life expectancy and increased cost to the NHS, potential onward transmission and continued sexual risk-taking. Read more. . .