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.
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© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Faculty of Public Health. All rights reserved.
- Late diagnosis
- Public health practice
- Serious incident reporting