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Missed opportunities for HIV testing among patients newly presenting for HIV care at a Swiss university hospital: a retrospective analysis

12 Jun 2018

Objectives

To determine the frequency of missed opportunities (MOs) among patients newly diagnosed with HIV, risk factors for presenting MOs and the association between MOs and late presentation (LP) to care.

Design

Retrospective analysis.

Setting

HIV outpatient clinic at a Swiss tertiary hospital.

Participants

Patients aged ≥18 years newly presenting for HIV care between 2010 and 2015.

Measures

Number of medical visits, up to 5 years preceding HIV diagnosis, at which HIV testing had been indicated, according to Swiss HIV testing recommendations. A visit at which testing was indicated but not performed was considered an MO for HIV testing.

Results

Complete records were available for all 201 new patients of whom 51% were male and 33% from sub-Saharan Africa. Thirty patients (15%) presented with acute HIV infection while 119 patients (59%) were LPs (CD4 counts <350 cells/mm3 at diagnosis). Ninety-four patients (47%) had presented at least one MO, of whom 44 (47%) had multiple MOs. MOs were more frequent among individuals from sub-Saharan Africa, men who have sex with men and patients under follow-up for chronic disease. MOs were less frequent in LPs than non-LPs (42.5% vs 57.5%, p=0.03).

Conclusions

At our centre, 47% of patients presented at least one MO. While our LP rate was higher than the national figure of 49.8%, LPs were less likely to experience MOs, suggesting that these patients were diagnosed late through presenting late, rather than through being failed by our hospital. We conclude that, in addition to optimising provider-initiated testing, access to testing must be improved among patients who are unaware that they are at HIV risk and who do not seek healthcare.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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