Dr Colm O’Mahony, a UK sexual health and HIV specialist, has said that diagnosing HIV earlier could save the health service ten of millions of pounds. Around one quarter of HIV sufferers do not know they have the condition and so are not practising safe sex. This is despite these people coming into contact with the health services constantly for a range of related illnesses such as gastroenterological conditions, as the health services are not routinely testing for HIV.
“The problem is that they are not being tested for HIV at these points of contact when dealing with healthcare personnel who are not specialists,” said Dr O’Mahoney.
Dr O’Mahony went on to say that introducing a blood test at selected non-HIV points of healthcare treatment, which costs about £3 per person, would identify unsuspecting HIV sufferers and allow them to be treated early.
Dr O’Mahony estimated that treating HIV costs about £6,000 per annum, in contrast to £27,000 a year to treat those who develop AIDS.