HIV positive hospital patients are living longer than ever in England

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A rise in the number of hospital admissions for HIV-positive patents in England has been attributed to the fact that those living with the virus are living longer than ever before.

The number of HIV positive patients admitted to hospitals in England went up from 12,796 in 2003-4 to 29,870 in 2013-14.

Positively UK, a charity working with HIV positive people said the figures, released in response to a written question in the House of Commons, were positive overall, as they show that those living with HIV are living longer.

Chief executive of Positively UK, Allan Anderson, said: “It shows that, from where we were 20 years ago with HIV, we are seeing people live longer, into old age and with healthier lifestyles, where they can work, have families.

“HIV care in the UK is incredibly good when people access specialist care, but where some of the problems arise is … [when] a lot of people with HIV have other conditions, cancer or cardiovascular disease and then, when they are told to access their GP, it could be that people don’t understand HIV or have misconceptions.

“The other side of growing old [with HIV] is that we are also looking at people accessing care homes or getting home helps and we are hearing increasingly of people refusing to work with people because of HIV status.”

He went on to say that the charity had heard stories of HIV positive people in care homes being given separate cutlery, and that some did not reveal their status for fear of discrimination.

“It’s sad and quite surprising; it’s a big concern,” he said. “We want more training for people in areas such as GP practices and specialist care homes to have a better understanding for HIV and how to manage it. We are concerned about areas such as drug interaction where the GP might be prescribing drugs that interfere with HIV medication.”

Positively UK is to launch a report titled ‘Positive Change’ in May, which will urge the next Government to make improvements to services.