HIV screenings in high-risk areas could save lives and money, a study published today argues.
Researchers at Queen Mary University, London, are calling for people to be screened at all 74 local authorities in England with high rates of infection when they register with a GP.
Trials tested the effectiveness of rapid finger-prick HIV testing as part of the standard health check carried out during GP registration.
They found it led to a fourfold increase in the HIV diagnosis rate.
Such a move would start to save money for primary care after 33 years, they found, with the point at which it becomes cost effective coming far sooner when the higher costs of care for people diagnosed late are factored in.
The annual cost of rolling out HIV screening to all 74 high-prevalence authorities was estimated at £4 million.
The study involved more than 86,000 people from 40 GP surgeries.