The British Liver Trust has joined with other charities leading in the fight against Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV to call on the government to fund testing for blood-borne viruses in emergency departments across England.
In an open letter launched today, we're asking that the Government’s successful opt-out testing programme is extended to all areas with a high prevalence of HIV – from Birmingham to Portsmouth, and Derby to Peterborough.
Routinely testing patients attending A & E has already identified more than 1,000 patients with viral hepatitis and HIV in London, Manchester, Brighton and Blackpool. This now needs to be rolled out to the rest of the UK.
Opt-out testing for these viruses will help the government meet its goal of eliminating Hepatitis C in England by 2025 and HIV transmissions by 2030. There are also approximately 440,000 people living with Hepatitis B in the UK but many remain unaware they have it. This testing will help reach more people in the community and find people who may avoid testing in other settings for fear of being stigmatised.
Early diagnosis not only saves and improves the lives of people living with these viruses but saves the NHS money. This is why we’re backing an open letter to the Public Health Minister and NHS England to extend opt-out testing to 40+ new hospitals in 32 areas.