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A novel strategy to reduce very late HIV diagnosis in high-prevalence areas in South-West England: serious incident audit

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-176
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date24 Feb 2016
StatePublished - Mar 2017


Background Very late diagnosis of HIV is a serious public health issue. We used serious incident reporting (SIR) to identify and address reasons for late diagnoses across the patient pathway.

Methods Cases of very late HIV diagnosis were reported via SIR in two 6-month batches between 2011 and 2012 in Bournemouth, Poole and Bristol. Case notes were reviewed for missed opportunities for earlier diagnosis using a root-cause analysis tool.

Results A total of 33 patients (aged 30–67 years, 66% male) were diagnosed very late. Although the majority were white British (n = 17), Black African (n = 9) and Eastern European (n = 4) ethnicities were over-represented. Twenty-four (73%) patients had clinical indicator conditions for HIV, 30 (91%) had a risk factor for HIV acquisition, with 13 (39%) having 2 or more (men-who-have-sex-with-men (n = 11), partner HIV positive (n = 11), from high-prevalence area (n = 12)). Actions resulting from SIR included increasing awareness of indicator conditions, HIV education days within primary care, and initiatives to increase testing within hospital specialities.

Conclusions SIR allowed identification of reasons for very late HIV diagnosis and provided an impetus for initiatives to address them. SIR may be part of an effective strategy to prevent late diagnosis of HIV which would have important benefits for individual and population health.

    Research areas

  • AIDS, HIV, late diagnosis, public health practice, serious incident reporting

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  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Public Health following peer review. The version of record "J. Womack, E. Herieka, M. Gompels, S. Callaghan, E. Burt, C.F. Davies, M.T. May, N. O'Brien, and J. Macleod, A novel strategy to reduce very late HIV diagnosis in high-prevalence areas in South-West England: serious incident audit, J Public Health (2016)", is available online at: doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdw007.

    Accepted author manuscript, 399 KB, PDF-document


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