The United Kingdom National Guidelines for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Testing 2008 suggest that an HIV test should be considered in all general medical admissions, when diagnosed HIV prevalence exceeds 2 in 1000 in the local population. We evaluated physician-initiated HIV testing rates in the Acute Assessment Unit of an East London hospital.


All acute presentations over one month were reviewed retrospectively, using electronic records. Patients with confirmed HIV were identified and the requested diagnostic HIV tests were measured. The number of patients with clinical indicator conditions for adult HIV infection, as defined in the United Kingdom National Guidelines for HIV Testing 2008, who did not receive appropriate testing, was calculated.


In the cohort of 1023 patients, two patients had known HIV. 58 diagnostic HIV tests were performed, including 40 tests in patients with no clinical indicator diseases. There were five admissions with ‘AIDS-defining conditions’, all of which were pulmonary tuberculosis and four out of five (80.0%) were tested. There were 118 admissions with ‘conditions where HIV testing should be offered’, 14 of which (11.9%) were tested. All HIV tests were negative.


Physician-initiated HIV testing was inadequate for such a high prevalence area, even in clinical indicator diseases. Physician-initiated HIV testing should be replaced with routine opt-out HIV testing in acute medical admissions units in areas of high HIV prevalence, as suggested by BHIVA (British HIV Association) guidelines, as we progress towards ending the HIV epidemic in the United Kingdom.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error