THE University Teaching Hospital has been carrying out mandatory HIV testing on all its admitted patients.
UTH doctors who sought anonymity confirmed the incident, saying the patients are not told about the tests but explained that the move is to ensure doctors have an easier diagnosis.
“Yes, we do test all the patients who are admitted but we do not tell them, we do it just to know as doctors but we do ask the patient if we can test for HIV but if the patient refuses, we do the test and just not tell them it was done or the results. It is confidential information for the doctor,” the source explained.
“You see, the information is vital for us to help treat patients, if we know the status of the patient, it is easy for us to do a diagnosis and treat, and if HIV is detected early before the CD 4 count goes down, it is easier to mitigate the virus. In a way, it is a good thing. The tests can also be used for further statistical information about HIV prevalence in the country.”
But UTH public relations manager Mwenya Musenga explained that the HIV testing was a Diagnostic Care and Testing.
He, however, said the test was not mandatory but done with the patients’ consent.
“What you observed is known as Diagnostic Care and Testing, it is a baseline just to have information at the back of the [doctors’] minds, so they know what they are treating. It is not forced, patients are counseled and if they accept, that is when it is done, we call it a DCT,” said Mulenga.
“You see, sometimes you may think it is malaria, meanwhile there is underlying cause so we do not want to be wasting time. So we just want to be straight, but it is not forced.”