NCA aims no patient will leave hospital with undiagnosed HIV

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NCA aims no patient will leave hospital with undiagnosed HIV
20 November 2019

THE Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (NCA) is aiming that no patient will leave its hospitals in Salford, Oldham, Bury, Rochdale, North Manchester and community services with undiagnosed HIV.

HIV is now a treatable, long term condition, and people living with HIV can have a normal lifespan if on effective treatment. Effective treatment also prevents transmission of HIV to others.

A group of hospital doctors, nurses, laboratory specialists and managers across the organisation will work towards implementing routine HIV testing for every patient seen or admitted across the NCA.

There are approximately 2,500 people living with HIV under the care of the Infectious Diseases department at North Manchester Care Organisation based at North Manchester General Hospital.

Medical Director at North Manchester Care Organisation and chair of the group, Prof Matt Makin, said:

“The proportion of people who have HIV is higher in Manchester and surrounding areas than most other regions nationally. We need to offer testing to those using our services to ensure that they can benefit from the excellent treatments available.  

“In order to achieve this, we have brought together a group of highly experienced medics, healthcare experts and managers, and tasked them with implementing this. This is a really important piece of work, which will contribute to Greater Manchester-wide work already underway to end new cases of HIV. Our aim is to increase the uptake of routine HIV testing among NCA patients and reduce late diagnosis of HIV and the risk of transmission across our five hospitals.”

The group will also engage with patients and the public from all local communities and cultures to improve understanding and reduce the stigma of HIV testing.

The NCA brings together the Salford Royal and Pennine Acute trusts, employing over 19,000 staff and providing hospital and community healthcare services to over one million people across its local communities.

Developing a realistic time frame, cost and plan for implementing routine testing for HIV at the NCA is a priority for the group.

In order to achieve its goals the group will develop an education and training programme for clinicians, who will work to existing guidelines and consider the specific needs of the population served by the NCA.  

Staff involved  include Consultants in Infectious Diseases, Emergency Medicine, Medicine, Surgery, nursing staff, laboratory and outpatients staff, as well as specialists in IT, patient safety, admin and communications.

Key facts you may not know about HIV

  • HIV is a condition that affects the immune system and is active in blood, sexual fluids and breast milk. It is not active in other bodily fluids and cannot be passed on through general social contact with a person
  • HIV is now no longer considered a terminal illness; it is a long term medical condition for which the life expectancy is equal to that of the general population for those taking effective treatment
  • When a person has an undetectable virus level as a result of taking antiretroviral therapy they cannot transmit HIV to another person. U=U (undetectable = un-transmittable)
  • Women living with HIV can have HIV negative children. Effective HIV treatment and maternity care in the UK means that the risk of mother to child transmission is less than one percent
  • Greater Manchester is an area with high HIV prevalence, where, in most areas, around two people in every 1,000 are living with HIV
  • HIV is a very manageable condition once people are aware of their diagnosis and are on effective treatment. In order for people to benefit from the excellent HIV care and treatment available and reduce transmission risk more routine testing is key across all healthcare specialities.

Pictured: Prof Matt Makin, Medical Director, North Manchester Care Organisation