BACKGROUND: the delay of HIV diagnosis represents an important risk of spreading HIV infection within the community and, at the same time, a loss of opportunity for undiagnosed subjects to start the antiretroviral therapy. OBJECTIVES: to evaluate the difference, over time, between early and late HIV diagnosis in a large University Hospital of Southern Italy and to emphasize the importance of spreading the culture of prevention, based on the improvement of the HIV screening test adherence, in order to reduce the incidence of late HIV diagnosis. DESIGN: retrospective cross-sectional study. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: all the HIV screening tests performed in the six-year period 2013-2018 by the HIV laboratory of a third-level University hospital of Sicily (Southern Italy) were considered. The tests were performed on four categories of patients: voluntary HIV screening participants, inpatients, outpatients, and healthcare workers. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: number of performed HIV tests and frequency of early and late HIV diagnosis in the studied categories of subjects. RESULTS: in the considered period, 16,290 HIV tests were performed and the new diagnosis, considering all the four categories of patients, were in total 72, of which the highest percentage (45.8%) concerned voluntary HIV screening participants showing a mean CD4+ level >350/μL (threshold to discriminate early or late infection), followed by inpatients (27.8%) and outpatients (26.4%) with a mean CD4+ levels <350/μL. Moreover, from 2013 to 2018, the detection of serological positivity on voluntary HIV screening participants showed a decrease of 12.5%, while there was a parallel increase of 18.2% in the inpatients group. In the outpatients, the serological positivity remains quite stable. Concerning sexual habits, in the voluntary HIV screening participants, more than half (55.5%) of the HIV positive subjects were homo-bisexuals, while in the inpatients and outpatients’ groups the highest percentage (83.3%) were heterosexuals. CONCLUSIONS: in this study, the majority (45.8%) of the new HIV diagnosis were detected on voluntary HIV screening participants in an earlier phase of infection. However, adding the percentages of inpatients and outpatients, it results that more than half (54.2%) of the new diagnosis occurred in a more advanced phase of infection. For these reasons, it appears necessary to stress the importance of an early diagnosis, reachable only by the spread of an HIV screening culture through health education campaigns addressed to the entire population and, especially, to heterosexual category that was the most interested group in the late diagnosis.

Epidemiology of the new HIV infections in a large university hospital of Southern Italy: the importance of increasing the culture of the HIV screening test in the prevention of late diagnosis. Epidemiologia delle nuove infezioni da HIV in un grande ospedale universitario del Sud Italia: l’importanza di aumentare la cultura del test di screening dell’HIV nella prevenzione delle diagnosi tardive.

A. Facciolà
Primo
;
G. Visalli;G. Antonuccio;G. Nunnari;G. F. Pellicanò;I. Picerno;A. Di Pietro
2020

Abstract

BACKGROUND: the delay of HIV diagnosis represents an important risk of spreading HIV infection within the community and, at the same time, a loss of opportunity for undiagnosed subjects to start the antiretroviral therapy. OBJECTIVES: to evaluate the difference, over time, between early and late HIV diagnosis in a large University Hospital of Southern Italy and to emphasize the importance of spreading the culture of prevention, based on the improvement of the HIV screening test adherence, in order to reduce the incidence of late HIV diagnosis. DESIGN: retrospective cross-sectional study. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: all the HIV screening tests performed in the six-year period 2013-2018 by the HIV laboratory of a third-level University hospital of Sicily (Southern Italy) were considered. The tests were performed on four categories of patients: voluntary HIV screening participants, inpatients, outpatients, and healthcare workers. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: number of performed HIV tests and frequency of early and late HIV diagnosis in the studied categories of subjects. RESULTS: in the considered period, 16,290 HIV tests were performed and the new diagnosis, considering all the four categories of patients, were in total 72, of which the highest percentage (45.8%) concerned voluntary HIV screening participants showing a mean CD4+ level >350/μL (threshold to discriminate early or late infection), followed by inpatients (27.8%) and outpatients (26.4%) with a mean CD4+ levels <350/μL. Moreover, from 2013 to 2018, the detection of serological positivity on voluntary HIV screening participants showed a decrease of 12.5%, while there was a parallel increase of 18.2% in the inpatients group. In the outpatients, the serological positivity remains quite stable. Concerning sexual habits, in the voluntary HIV screening participants, more than half (55.5%) of the HIV positive subjects were homo-bisexuals, while in the inpatients and outpatients’ groups the highest percentage (83.3%) were heterosexuals. CONCLUSIONS: in this study, the majority (45.8%) of the new HIV diagnosis were detected on voluntary HIV screening participants in an earlier phase of infection. However, adding the percentages of inpatients and outpatients, it results that more than half (54.2%) of the new diagnosis occurred in a more advanced phase of infection. For these reasons, it appears necessary to stress the importance of an early diagnosis, reachable only by the spread of an HIV screening culture through health education campaigns addressed to the entire population and, especially, to heterosexual category that was the most interested group in the late diagnosis.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11570/3175378
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