The British HIV Association (BHIVA), the body that represents HIV care professionals, said that patients with HIV are being denied longer life expectancies because they are being diagnosed too late: up to 1 in 4 people who test positive for HIV could have been diagnosed earlier.  GPs are missing the signs of HIV related illnesses in their patients who report ill health.

People who are diagnosed with HIV in the later stages are ten times more likely to die within a year of diagnosis then someone who was diagnosed early and could start treatment.

Dr Ed Ong, who wrote this report said: “Our data shows one in four people living with HIV could have had their condition diagnosed earlier…This is a serious wake-up call and shows we need a pro-active and widespread testing programme which is tailored to those people who are most at risk.”

The BHIVA chair Professor Jane Anderson concluded: “Late diagnosis is the single biggest cause of death from HIV in the UK. It increases the risk of HIV-related ill-health, of HIV being acquired by others, and significantly increases the costs of treatment… HIV is treatable, and if diagnosed in time, people with HIV can expect to have long and healthy lives. Sadly, opportunities for longer life expectancy for people with HIV are being thrown away by late diagnosis.”

If you are worried your doctor has missed the signs, you can request an HIV test from him, or choose to Better2Know who can get you a same day appointment with fast results (the same day your sample is received in the laboratory).

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