Aims This project aimed to evaluate the awareness of several UK National Guidelines for HIV Testing amongst paediatricians. The importance of early detection of HIV infection is to prevent the presentation of infants and children with advanced HIV disease. It is recommend that clinicians have a high index of suspicion for children who could be identified as being at risk thus the awareness of current related guidelines was assessed.
Methods A questionnaire was sent to 205 clinicians working within general or specialist paediatrics. Questions included an analysis of clinician demographics and their awareness of current guidelines associated with HIV testing of children.
Results Figure 1 – Respondents were mostly female (60%) and were at consultant level (63%). The majority of respondents worked within general paediatrics (66%).
We evaluated the awareness of relevant guidelines amongst clinicians as shown in Figure 2. Of the 60 respondents who answered this question 33.3% were not aware of any of the documents, yet 60% were aware of the UK National guidelines.
Figure 2 – The proportion of clinicians who were aware of the publication of guidelines related to HIV testing in children.
Conclusion The results overall were disappointing. As many as 33% of paediatricians (63% of them consultants), who participated in this project were unaware of any of the three key guidelines for HIV testing of children and only 60% were aware of the UK National Guideline for HIV Testing 2008. In order for guidelines to be integrated into clinical practice, clinicians must be willing to keep up to date evidence-based recommendations of such guidelines and be willing to adapt their clinical practice accordingly. This could be addressed through a number of techniques including schemes such as:
A journal club equivalent for introducing new guidelines to the clinical team.
Revalidation penalties or financial incentives based on adherence to current guidelines.
Those who participated were provided with links to the relevant guidelines and thus it may be inferred that the distribution of this questionnaire has contributed to increased awareness.