Despite a decrease of people diagnosed with HIV, there is reason for concern. Nearly 50% of all new HIV cases is diagnosed too late. The Dutch HIV Association HVN is extremely worried. People who do not belong to the high-risk groups, such as heterosexual men and people over 45, are often treated too late.
The HIV Monitoring Foundation recently reported a decrease in the number of new HIV infections. However, at the same time, 45% of these cases are diagnosed in a late stage, in which the body's immune system often has already been seriously compromised.
Pieter Brokx, Managing Director of HVN: ‘General Practitioners and other health professions tend not to consider HIV when a patients has complaints that do not match the risk outline. Therefore they do not think the transparent symptoms exhibited by these people are HIV related. HIV testing is rarely discussed when it comes to this group. This is reflected in the statistics, which is unacceptable’.
Conditions, such as the shingles, weight loss and persistent (fungus) infections, indicate a compromised immune system and often do not trigger an HIV test. Someone can be infected with HIV for some 15 years before symptoms appear. These situations can be avoided with a simple blood test.
HVN argues for offering an HIV test earlier. Brokx: 'Even if someone does not fit in with the standard risk group. In those cases, there are real health benefits to be gained. HIV tests should be considered a normal thing to do in diagnoses. HIV is treatable. A long and healthy a life is possible with medication, and ensures that HIV is no longer transmitted. The sooner people are diagnosed, the better.'