Milton Keynes answers calls for ‘urgent’ investment in HIV testing

Health
Health

Milton Keynes is in the top third of the country for the highest HIV infection rates and is the second highest in the East of England.

A study of 86,000 people in GP surgeries across the country revealed that testing for HIV in high prevalence areas, where more than 2 adults are diagnosed per 1,000 adults, could save lives.

Queen Mary University (QMUL) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine also discovered that the testing would be cost-effective.

The study showed that 2.98 people per every 1,000 adults aged between 15-59 have HIV in Milton Keynes.

Dr Werner Leber from QMUL said: “We’ve shown that HIV screening in UK primary care is cost effective and potentially cost saving, which is contrary to widespread belief.

“This is an important finding given today’s austerity. Financial pressures, particularly within local authority’s public health budgets, mean that the costs of HIV testing are under intense scrutiny, and in some areas investment in testing has fallen.”

Councillor Hannah O’Neill said: “It is a key priority for Public Health in Milton Keynes to decrease HIV-related deaths and ill-health through reducing the proportion and number of HIV diagnoses made at a late stage of HIV infection.

“People diagnosed early have access to effective treatment and can expect a good quality of life and normal life expectancy.”

Finger prick tests for HIV are being rolled out across the city and the number of people taking the tests have doubled in the previous year.

The council are encouraging people to get tested if they think they are at risk.