To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) if he will assess the potential savings to other parts of the NHS budget which could arise from increasing early diagnosis of HIV in each of the next four financial years;
(2) what resources his Department plans to provide to primary care trusts to increase the early diagnosis of HIV in each of the next four financial years.
The Department recognise the benefits of early HIV diagnosis which include preventing the onward transmission of HIV, improved treatment outcomes for patients and savings to the national health service. In March 2011, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published its public health guidance “Increasing the uptake of HIV testing in men who have sex with men” and “Increasing the uptake of HIV testing among black Africans in England”, the groups most affected by HIV in the United Kingdom. The NICE accompanying costing report included a local costing template to assess the local impact of implementing the NICE guidelines including the costs and saving to the NHS. Both the guidance and the costing report are available on the NICE website at:
In 2009-10, the Department funded eight pilot projects to assess different models for expanding HIV testing in non-specialist health care settings in primary and secondary care. In September 2011 the Health Protection Agency published a report of their review of all eight projects—“Time to test for HIV: Expanding HIV testing in healthcare and community services in England” a copy of which has been placed in the Library. The Department will consider the report's findings in developing the new sexual health policy document.
Up to 2013, it is for primary care trusts to commission and fund interventions to increase the offer and uptake of HIV testing in a variety of health care settings, taking into account the local prevalence of HIV and other health care priorities. The Department is funding the charity the Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health to produce information resources to support primary care staff in offering an HIV test.