Universal HIV-Testing. International Recommendations and actual risk of HIV-Infections for Healthcare-Workers
Duration: September 2012
Publication: DSD Nr. 61: http://eprints.hta.lbg.ac.at/979
Additional team: Johanna Delinger
Suggested by: BMG
Austria has the highest HIV-test rate per 1,000 inhabitants in the European Union: 99 tests per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the EU-average of 45.3 in 2010. This may be related to beliefs held by the health care personnel that knowledge of the HIV-status of a patient (e.g. via routine pre-operative testing) serves as a protective measure against occupational transmission of HIV.
In order to identify national and international guidelines on universal HIV-testing as well as literature on the actual infection risks for health care personnel, websites and databases were hand-searched.
International guidelines tend to recommend universal screening for HIV in all health-care settings only when the undiagnosed prevalence of HIV is >0.1%. Pre-operative screening is either not mentioned or explicitly not recommended.
HIV poses a small but real risk to health-care personnel. Since the beginning of counting until 2002, 106 cases of occupational HIV-infections have been documented worldwide: in Austria there have been 4 cases of occupational HIV-infection between 1996 and 2011. There is no convincing evidence that knowledge of the serostatus of a patient leads to changes in the behaviour of health-care workers.
With an HIV-prevalence of about 0.1%, Austria is considered to be a low-prevalence country. Based on international guidelines, universal HIV-testing is not advisable in Austria.
Contact: Claudia Wild