Objectives: In order to estimate HIV incidence among high-risk groups, in January 2009 the Health Protection Agency introduced the Recent Infection Testing Algorithm (RITA) in England and Northern Ireland (E&NI), currently the only regions to inform patients of RITA results. This survey of HIV specialists aimed to investigate the role of RITA in patient management and explore clinicians' views on its role in clinical practice and during partner notification. Methods: An online questionnaire was distributed to HIV specialists via the British HIV Association membership email list in February 2011. Results: Forty-two HIV specialists from 32 HIV centres responded to the survey among 90 centres enrolled in the programme (response rate 36%). Testing for recent infection was considered standard of care by 83% of respondents, 80% felt confident in interpreting results and 92% discussed results with patients, particularly in the context of a possible HIV seroconversion illness (96%) or when deciding when to start antiretroviral therapy (70%). A third (36%) of specialists were initially concerned that RITA results may cause additional anxiety among patients; however, no adverse events were reported. The majority (90%) felt that results could assist with contact tracing by prioritizing patients with likely recent infection. However, only a few centres have currently incorporated RITA into their HIV partner notification protocols. Conclusions: RITA has been introduced into clinical practice with no reported patient adverse events. Access to results at centre level should be improved. National guidance regarding use of RITA as a tool for contact tracing is required.
- Avidity testing
- HIV incidence
- Partner notification
- Recent Infection Testing Algorithm