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HIV Screening Should Be Done For The Determination Of Status   
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Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, Acting Programme Manager, National Aids Control Programme (NACP), has suggested that HIV screening should not be done merely on the basis of clinical suspicion of HIV disease but for the purpose of timely determination of the status.

He said when this was done the necessary clinical actions would be taken in the client’s interest.

He said HIV testing must be offered routinely at all stages of clients’ journey through the Emergency Department (ED), considered feasible to perform the test.

Dr Addo said once a client’s status was unknown, a test must be offered either by voluntary disclosure or testing in the ED, the clinician must enquire about Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and take steps to either continue or initiate therapy according to national guidelines whilst managing prevailing acute condition.

He said this at the maiden HIV and AIDS Care in Accident and Emergency Departments forum held in Accra. It was oganised by Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) to lead national response in the prevention of HIV.

Professor Peter Donkor, Project Director, MEPI, said the aim of the forum was to train more health service providers at accident and emergency settings of the various hospitals both at the national through to the district levels for informed ideas to be established as to how to treat HIV/AIDS cases in the emergency settings.

He said it was also an advocacy programme aimed at translating lessons, experiences and ideas to health workers for them to take the necessary precautions as they care for people.

Explaining the rationale behind the forum, Dr George Oduro, Consultant in Accident and Emergency Medicine said following a pilot study held in the Ashanti Region between March and July 2013 on patients who visited the Accident and Emergency Department of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, it was revealed that older people between the ages of 51-60 tend to be less infected with the virus whilst the youth and adult were at higher risk, especially women.

He said 1,125 patients were chosen as a focal group with their consent and anonymity being ensured.

Dr Oduro, who is also the Head of the KATH Accident and Emergency Department, said a rapid HIV test was conducted on some of all the the patients. Some 667 who accepted to undergo another test were screened for the HIV virus and 90 tested positive.

Of the number 59 per cent were female and 41 per cent being men.
Source: GNA

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