The impact of COVID‐19 on HIV testing in the UK’s first Fast‐Track HIV city

Wenlock, Rhys D, Shillingford, Chante, Mear, John, Churchill, Duncan, Vera, Jaime H and Dean, Gillian (2022) The impact of COVID‐19 on HIV testing in the UK’s first Fast‐Track HIV city. HIV Medicine. pp. 1-7. ISSN 1464-2662

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Abstract

Objectives
To describe the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on HIV testing in Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom.

Methods
All HIV tests performed in Brighton and Hove from January 2016 to June 2021 were extracted, de-duplicated and anonymized. Analysis was performed to compare the monthly numbers of tests and diagnoses before and during the pandemic across different services.

Results
The number of patients having tests for HIV in sexual health services (SHS) decreased by 64% in April 2020, followed by a recovery to baseline levels by the start of 2021. Similarly, the monthly number of diagnoses decreased drastically after April 2020, with almost half of diagnoses made by SHS in 2020 occurring in the three pre-pandemic months of the year. ‘Self-sampling’, used more by women and younger patients, has contributed significantly to the recovery.

The number of patients tested in secondary care was seemingly unaffected by the pandemic. However, testing numbers were reduced in specialist services, whereas in the emergency department (ED) testing increased four-fold (most notably in the elderly) without finding any cases.

General practice saw decreases in both the number of HIV tests performed and the number of new diagnoses made, which had not returned to baseline by June 2021.

Discussion
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a large impact on the number of HIV tests performed in Brighton and Hove with sizeable decreases in the number of patients tested likely leading to ‘missed’ diagnoses. By June 2021 testing had still not returned to normal across the city.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Global Health and Infection
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2022 08:25
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2022 09:44
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/104108

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