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Chelsea and Westminster doctor featured on Radio 4 tonight

04 September 2012

Dr Ann Sullivan, Consultant Physician at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, can be heard on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Inside Health’ programme at 9pm tonight (Tuesday 4 September) talking to presenter Dr Mark Porter about HIV in the UK today.

Dr Ann Sullivan, Consultant Physician at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, can be heard on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Inside Health’ programme at 9pm tonight (Tuesday 4 September) talking to presenter Dr Mark Porter about HIV in the UK today.

Chelsea and Westminster was the first hospital in London to offer routine HIV tests to A&E patients in a bid to save lives by reducing the number of cases of undiagnosed HIV.

All patients aged 16-65 attending the A&E department at Chelsea and Westminster are offered the 30-second test.

The Health Protection Agency estimates that 86,500 people are living with HIV in the UK—26% of whom are unaware of their condition—and the number of people in London diagnosed with HIV acquired in the UK has doubled in the last 10 years.

In London 28,000 people are living with HIV and the virus is a particular threat in the gay community - one in 10 gay men in London has HIV, while one in seven gay men on the London gay scene has the virus.

Speaking last year, Dr Sullivan said: “People whose HIV is undiagnosed are not only more likely to die from the virus but also infect other people while they are unaware of their condition. If diagnosed early, HIV can be successfully treated and people with HIV live to near-normal life expectancies. Successful treatment has also been shown to reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

“Our pilot study demonstrated that routine HIV tests in A&E not only detect undiagnosed cases but also are seen as acceptable by the vast majority of patients. The impact of routine HIV testing in antenatal clinics shows the potential benefits of extending routine tests to A&E. Since its introduction in 1999, 95% of pregnant women take the test and the proportion of newborn babies at risk of infection from HIV has decreased.”

More information about tonight’s BBC Radio 4 ‘Inside Health’ programme—also repeated at 4:30pm on Wednesday (5 September)—is available on their website.