Incentives for voluntary HIV testing in NHS staff

Matthew Hamill, A. Copas, S. M. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: HIV seroprevalence is rising in the United Kingdom. While acceptability of HIV testing has been explored among many groups there is a paucity of data regarding voluntary HIV counselling and testing (VCT) among NHS staff. Aims: To understand the barriers to HIV testing among NHS employees. To observe how these may be overcome. To assess which factors would motivate staff to undergo VCT and which would be a disincentive. Methods: Completion of a cross-sectional anonymous postal questionnaire survey of new employees at a London district general hospital. Demographic and attitudinal factors were collected. Respondents were able to give multiple responses to questions regarding reasons for and against VCT. Those unable to communicate in English were excluded. Results: There was a 63% response rate; of 69 respondents, 76% were female, 72% had English as their first language and 30% self-identified as white British. Thirty-nine percent were nurses, 19% doctors and the remainder a variety of professions. Of these, 41% had had a previous HIV test; none were known positive. Sixty-two percent would consider future testing. The commonest reasons to consider testing were knowledge of status (79%), treatment benefit (40%) and to inform family members (44%). The commonest reasons not to test were already tested negative (30%) and rather not know (26%). Conclusions: Since the NHS is recruiting staff from areas of high HIV prevalence, VCT should be encouraged. NHS staff require information on how to access testing as well as the benefits of early detection of blood-borne viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-429
Number of pages4
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood-borne viruses
  • HIV
  • Health care workers
  • Testing
  • VCT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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