Havering consultant pushes for earlier HIV testing
PUBLISHED: 12:09 01 June 2015 | UPDATED: 15:23 01 June 2015
A BHRUT consultant is pushing for earlier HIV testing as Havering has more cases than the national average.
The number of patients diagnosed with the virus nationwide is 1.5 per 1,000 population while Havering has about 2 per 1,000 population, according to Public Health England’s HIV in the UK report 2014.
Dr Rageshri Dhairyawan, of the Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge University Trust, has spoken to GPs at the Western Road Medical Centre in Western Road, Romford, about ways to improve HIV care.
She said: “We have good treatments in place for patients in the borough as well as up and down the country, but the key area for improvement is early diagnosis.
“This can be achieved by helping to promote the signs of HIV to patients so this will push them to go and see their doctor.
“Making people and health care professionals aware of the early signs of the virus is also important so they can think about testing earlier.”
Dr Dhairyawan has also highlighted the fact that about 107,000 people in the UK have HIV, but a quarter of them are unaware they have contracted the infection.
Positive East, a charity dedicated to giving those with HIV advice and support, also wants to stress the importance of awareness.
Peter Ekukoro, advice services manager, said: “The number of cases in east London is increasing and a massive part of this is due to people not knowing what the signs are and this needs to be amended.
“We cannot expect the rates to go down if the majority of individuals don’t know what they need to be looking out for.”
Dr Dhairyawan will be visiting medical surgeries throughout the borough to present and discuss ideas on how to improve the number of diagnosed cases.
She said: “The best ways to encourage early diagnosis are to normalise the test so it’s like any other blood test that a doctor would carry out, target high risk groups and make it easier to access tests.
“These would be the ways forward in advancing our HIV care in this borough.”
To contact a BHRUT consultant about HIV call 0208 924 6571