WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Study shows European hospitals miss every other HIV infection

Hospitals miss every other HIV infection | Courtesy of nature.com
A recent study shows that many European hospitals do not regularly test people who could have HIV infections, resulting in the hospitals missing every other HIV infection.

Health professionals say that if the tests were offered more widely throughout the health care system, not as many HIV patients would be overlooked. They so this is especially true for Northern Europe.

When people are admitted to hospitals with symptoms that could be from HIV, physicians do not always provide them with HIV tests. Of the patients offered an HIV test, 99 percent accept.

"Hospitals would be able to diagnose almost twice as many people with HIV if they all adhered to the European guidelines on which people should be offered an HIV test,” Professor Jens Lundgren from the Department of Infectious Diseases at Rigshospitalet and Copenhagen University, said. “This is very unfortunate. When we fail to diagnose those living with HIV in time, they suffer more complications, their life expectancy is shortened and there is a greater risk that they may have transmitted the virus to others. This is why it's important to diagnose as many people as possible, early on.”

Detecting the infection later increases the cost of treating the infection.

"These diseases are treated on wards that are not used to treating patients with HIV,” Lundgren said. “The test rate is higher for patients suffering tuberculosis and hepatitis, as they are often treated on wards that also treat patients with HIV. It appears that health care professionals in Northern Europe in particular encounter a barrier in terms of considering the possibility of an HIV infection and subsequent tests.”

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