Trends In Hiv-Testing In Belgian General Practice (1988-1997)

Devroey D and van Casteren V
Scientific Institute Public Health-Louis Pasteur. Brussels (Belgium).
Objectives. The aim of this study was to determine trends in the number of HIV-tests in general practice and to find out about the reason and the circumstances for HIV-testing.
Methods. Since May 1988 every demand for an HIV-test is recorded by the Belgian sentinel general practitioners. This network functions since 1979 and is representative for the Belgian general practitioners, according to age and sex.
Results. The number of HIV tests raised from 10 tests among 10.000 patient encounters in 1988 to 21 in 1992. Since 1996 the number decreases slowly. In the first half of the nineties 50% of all tests was on demand of the patient. Since 1995, 70% was on demand of the patient. Since the number of tests decreased, the number of tests demanded by the GP increases. The number of tests that were done without the patient's consent decreased from 39% in 1992 to 16% in 1996. Risk factors were only present in 50% of all HIV tests. Between 1989 and 1994 only l or 2 positive confirmation tests among 1000 HIV tests were found. Since 1995 this number increased from 5 in 1995 to 7 in 1996. Were in the beginning of the registration only 15% of all positive tests were diagnosed by the general practitioner this number inclined to more than 50% during the last 3 years.
Conclusions. The number of demands for HIV-tests decreases. The increasing number of positive tests per 1000 HIV tests confirms the more appropriate use of the HIV test.
Trends in HIV-testing in Belgian general practice (1988-1997)