Late diagnosis of HIV in Europe: definitional and public health challenges

Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
AIDS Care (Impact Factor: 1.6). 12/2008; 21(3):284-93. DOI: 10.1080/09540120802183537
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT With universal access to antiretroviral therapy (ART), people can access effective treatment but are only able to benefit from these advances if they are aware of their status and are effectively accessing testing services. Although it was anticipated in the mid-1990s that the availability of ART would lead to earlier testing, this trend has not been observed in practice, with stagnant or even increasing rates of late diagnosis in Europe. Ahead of a gathering of key European stakeholders in Brussels in November 2007, we reviewed definitions of late diagnosis and approaches to surveillance of late HIV diagnosis in Europe. We found that there is no common or consistent reporting of late diagnosis across Europe and that the multiplicity of definitions for late diagnosis is likely proving a hindrance to providing information on the magnitude of the problem, determining trends, and informing understanding of reasons for changes in trends. We also show that existing evidence points to high rates of late diagnosis across Europe - between 15 and 38% of all HIV cases - and concur that trends that are increasing or at best stagnant. We identify risk factors that are associated with individuals being more likely to present late and we explore the reasons for late presentation. We reflect on the need to review surveillance and testing policies, notably in relation for population groups that are heavily represented in late presenters and make recommendations for a coherent, cross-European approach to surveillance and monitoring in order to support improvements in service provision and, ultimately, public health.

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    ABSTRACT: The main goal of this study was to analyse the determinants of late diagnosis of HIV infection. Secondly, we studied the role of the perception of risk and sexual orientation in HIV testing. Twenty-five people with late HIV diagnosis were interviewed. They were contacted through hospitals and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). To design the interview, we integrated the variables considered in the main models of health-related behaviour. We followed a mixed strategy of analysis. Firstly, we carried out thematic analysis of the interviews, followed by quantitative analysis of the initially qualitative data. The results revealed that the most relevant determinants were the appraisal of the threat of HIV and the low perception of HIV risk. Also, the study found many missed opportunities for diagnosis in health-care setting. Low perception of HIV risk was related to unrealistic optimism, low levels of information about HIV, and the presence of stereotypes about people with HIV. High perception of HIV risk was related to strategies to avoid testing. Homosexuals reported a more positive balance between the benefits of knowing their diagnosis and having the disease. The results provide clues that can guide the design of future strategies to promote early diagnosis.
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    ABSTRACT: Since 1996 Brazil has provided universal access to free antiretroviral therapy, and as a consequence, HIV/AIDS patients' survival rate has improved dramatically. However, according to scientific reports, a significant number of patients are still late presenting for HIV treatment, which leads to consequences both for the individual and society. Clinical and immunological characteristics of HIV patients newly diagnosed were accessed and factors associated with late presentation for treatment were evaluated. A cross-sectional study was carried out in an HIV/AIDS reference center in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, in Southeastern Brazil from 2008 to 2010. Operationally, patients with late presentation (LP) for treatment were those whose first CD4 cell count was less than 350cells/mm(3) or presented an AIDS defining opportunistic infection. Patients with late presentation with advanced disease (LPAD) were those whose first CD4 cell count was less than 200cells/mm(3) or presented an AIDS defining opportunistic infection. LP and LPAD associated risk factors were evaluated using logistic regression methods. Five hundred and twenty patients were included in the analysis. The median CD4 cell count was 336cells/mm(3) (IQR: 130-531). Two hundred and seventy-nine patients (53.7%) were classified as LP and 193 (37.1%) as LPAD. On average, 75% of the patients presented with a viral load (VL) >10,000copies/ml. In multivariate logistic regression analysis the factors associated with LP and LPAD were age, being symptomatic at first visit and VL. Race was a factor associated with LP but not with LPAD. The proportion of patients who were late attending a clinic for HIV treatment is still high, and effective strategies to improve early HIV detection with a special focus on the vulnerable population are urgently needed. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Editora Ltda.
    The Brazilian journal of infectious diseases: an official publication of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases 03/2015; 16. DOI:10.1016/j.bjid.2015.01.005 · 1.10 Impact Factor

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