National AIDS Trust publishes guidance on reducing late HIV diagnosis for commissioners.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

NAT (National AIDS Trust) has produced a comprehensive toolkit for commissioning HIV testing services in England, in time for the NHS changes taking place this April.

The toolkit and its appendices, designed primarily for those with responsibility for commissioning HIV testing services, signposts readers to data and research on HIV testing, showcases best practice and offers suggestions of how to decide what sort of services are needed in different areas.

The toolkit will play an important role in reducing England’s rate of late diagnosed HIV.  Currently nearly half of all people with HIV are diagnosed late – usually indicating they have been infected for at least five years. People diagnosed late have an eleven-fold increased risk of death within one year of HIV diagnosis compared to those diagnosed promptly and also have a greater chance of passing the virus on.

The importance of this issue is reflected in the fact that late HIV diagnosis is one of the new public health outcomes indicators.

Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director for Health and Wellbeing, Public Health England, in his foreword for the toolkit says:”We know that the majority of new HIV transmissions in England are from people who are undiagnosed. Reducing the prevalence of undiagnosed HIV infection is therefore a public health priority, and HIV testing is our most effective tool to meet this challenge.

“This toolkit on the commissioning of HIV testing services, developed by NAT, will make a welcome contribution to further developing our HIV testing and reducing local late diagnosis rates. I heartily commend it to the attention of all commissioning bodies.”

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT said: “The Government’s Sexual Health Framework, published this March, stated one of their ambitions was that individuals with HIV were diagnosed early. The advice and guidance in this toolkit will help commissioners meet this ambition. It is vitally important that all commissioners, in the different parts of the new NHS and public health system, recognised their responsibilities on HIV testing and collaborate on integrated and innovative testing strategies.” 

The toolkit will be refreshed when new case studies of successful HIV testing initiatives or up-to-date evidence and data come to light.

The Commissioning HIV Testing Services in England: A practical guide for Commissioners can be downloaded from

Notes to the editor:

NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expertise and practical resources. We champion the rights of people living with HIV and campaign for change.

Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.

For further information please contact: Suzi Price, communications manager, NAT, 020 7814 6733,

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