Several barriers have been identified to routine HIV testing in emergency departments and acute medical units in high-income countries like UK and US, reveals a new HIV Medicine study.
For the study, investigators searched electronic databases for US and UK studies published between 2006 and 2015 that described the offer of HIV testing to adults.
HIV testing coverage ranged from 10-38 percent and 19-26 percent while uptake levels were higher (70%-84% and 53%-75%) in the UK and US, respectively.
Factors that facilitated the offer of HIV testing were venous sampling (versus point-of-care tests), commitment of medical staff to HIV testing policy and support from local HIV specialist providers.
"The individual and public health benefits of early HIV diagnosis and prompt treatment are hampered by the unacceptably low rates of routine HIV testing in nonspecialist settings," said lead author Dr. Ali Elgalib.
"The barriers identified by our review lie more with providers rather than patients they stem from staff fears about offering HIV testing due to perceived lack of knowledge about HIV."