HIV testing in primary care: a small-scale qualitative study to gain understanding

Rebecca Kelly, Joanne Garside

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Approximately 10,400 people are living with HIV but are unaware of their condition. Late diagnosis can impact on quality of life and prognosis is, therefore, a significant health issue. 

Method: A qualitative research study was used with primary care clinicians to ascertain knowledge, understanding and current practices of clinicians to promote HIV testing of high-risk individuals in primary care. Using semi-structured interviews (n=7) the questioning focused on HIV testing guidelines, prevalence, late diagnosis and perceptions of where best to test. Interview data were thematically analysed. Results: Avoidance,paternalism, resources and knowledge were the emergent final themes. In brief,none of the clinicians could name or reference any guidance on HIV testing. One had heard of self-testing and the majority were unsure about its efficacy,reliability and its impact on resources. Most were concerned about the psychological impact. 

Conclusion: Participants in this study had a lack of knowledge of guidance; however, they demonstrated a readiness to improve their practice. Recommendations focus on education, awareness and a promotion of lowering the threshold for testing in areas with a higher than national average late diagnosis.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-32
Number of pages3
JournalHIV Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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