What is it about?

Late HIV diagnosis is associated with increased AIDS-related illness and deaths as well as an increased risk of HIV transmission. This study measured and characterized missed opportunities for earlier HIV diagnosis in British Columbia (BC), Canada. We defined “missed opportunities” as healthcare encounters due to clinical symptoms which may be caused by HIV infection or are frequently present among those with HIV infection, but no HIV diagnosis followed within 30 days. We further developed an algorithm to identify missed opportunities within one, three, and five years prior to HIV diagnosis. We found that 1 in 7 people living with HIV have experienced several missed opportunities within five years prior to HIV diagnosis. Healthcare encounters associated with recurrent pneumonia, herpes zoster/ shingles among younger individuals, and anemia, as well as having ever injected drugs, living in a remote region in BC, being older than 40 years and identifying as heterosexual were associated with an increased risk of experiencing these missed opportunities.

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Why is it important?

This study demonstrated that HIV-diagnosed individuals in BC have experienced several missed opportunities for earlier diagnosis. Delayed diagnosis may delay treatment initiation among people living with HIV, which increases mortality, burden of HIV, and transmission risk.


I hope this article can create awareness among healthcare providers about screening practices not only in BC, but around the world.

Dr. Viviane Lima
British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Missed opportunities for earlier diagnosis of HIV in British Columbia, Canada: A retrospective cohort study, PLoS ONE, March 2019, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0214012.
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