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HIV testing in abortion services
  1. Donna Montford, MBChB, MRCGP1,
  2. Sumit Bhaduri, MBChB, MRCP2
  1. Speciality Grade Doctor in Sexual Health, Arrowside Unit, Alexandra Hospital, Redditch, UK; donnam{at}doctors.org.uk
  2. Consultant in Genitourinary Medicine, Arrowside Unit, Alexandra Hospital, Redditch, UK; Sumit.Bhaduri{at}hacw.nhs.uk

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We read with interest the commentary by Sylvia Bates and the article by Briggs et al. regarding HIV testing in abortion services in the October 2011 issue of this Journal.1 2 In particular we note the statement about the lack of data in this area. We have recently conducted an audit of this topic in our integrated sexual health service.

A total of 150 case notes of patients attending for pregnancy counselling prior to potential referral for a termination of pregnancy were analysed. Analysis was related to the offer of an HIV test, acceptance of the test and the reasons for declining the test. Overall 102/150 (68%) were offered the test and 21/102 (21%) accepted testing. Of the 81/102 who declined testing, 33 had recorded reasons in their notes for declining the test. Eight of these 33 patients stated that they had had the test elsewhere, in 6/33 cases patients stated they preferred testing at the end of the incubation period and in 11/33 cases patients stated they were tested as part of a recent antenatal screen.

The offer of HIV testing and uptake fall short of British HIV Association standards.3 As a result of this audit standards have been reiterated to staff. The offer of testing can be drilled down to individual clinicians; this can be monitored on an ongoing basis. Also offering the test on an opt-out basis is being considered. We plan to re-audit the topic in the near future.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests None.

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