GPs 'complacent' over HIV risk

Todd Thorpe Todd Thorpe works for counselling group Dhiverse

Related Stories

Complacency by doctors is leading to late diagnosis of HIV, a health group worker has alleged.

BBC Inside Out has found that 55% of those diagnosed with HIV in the Eastern region and the Midlands were diagnosed late, the highest rate in the UK.

Cambridgeshire HIV counselling group worker Todd Thorpe said a number of people had come for advice after their GP did not recognise HIV symptoms.

The Royal College of General Practitioners rejects the criticism.

A spokeswoman said GPs do receive training provided by groups endorsed by the Royal College.

'Become complacent'

Mr Thorpe, of Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, was diagnosed HIV four years ago after he was raped and said he struggled to seek support.

He now works with counselling group Dhiverse and offers training to GPs but claimed out of 96 surgeries, only two have signed up to training.

Mr Thorpe said: "I believe they have become complacent.

"We've had guys go to the GP with their symptoms and not once have they been offered an HIV test."

Sharron Spindler, the chief executive of Dhiverse, said: "Sadly we have had a number of people who have come to us for support, who have been diagnosed late because their GP didn't recognise that they could have HIV so didn't recommend an HIV test.

"We have also had a couple of reports of GPs telling their patient that it was unlikely they were at risk of HIV because they were married.

"This shows that there is still some misconception about how HIV is contracted and that you can't be at risk if you're not gay or have been in a number of relationships."

'Waited 12 years'

Mr Thorpe added: "It took me two years to finally seek support and help, both for the rape and being HIV positive. I didn't tell anyone. It just left me devastated."

Mr Thorpe claimed stories of late diagnosis - made after treatment should have begun - are common. He recently supported a man who waited 12 years to be tested.

"People are still dying whether through fear, ignorance or burying their head in the sand," he said.

It is estimated by Public Health England that one in five people with HIV still goes undiagnosed.

Watch more on this story on Inside Out at 19:30 GMT on BBC One East, and afterwards on iPlayer.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More England stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Martin Gardner as a young manThink hard

    Was this man the world's greatest puzzle master?


  • Carved pumpkinTrick or treat

    What did a riot at a pumpkin festival show about race in US?


  • A man in a biohazard suit decontaminates a handrail at a Dallas train station.Ebola and race

    Is prejudice fuelling outbreak hysteria in the US?


  • Oscar de la Renta and Oprah WinfreyIn pictures

    The life and work of Oscar de la Renta


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit

Programmes

  • Smart glassesClick Watch

    Smart spectacles go into battle – the prototypes looking to take on Google Glass

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.