Findings from the first national clinical audit of treatment for people with HIV

HIV Med. 2003 Jan;4(1):11-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1468-1293.2003.00137.x.


Objectives: We reviewed the impact of and assessed adherence to British HIV Association (BHIVA) guidelines in routine clinical practice. Feedback has been provided to clinical centres to facilitate any necessary change.

Methods: We used a questionnaire to gauge clinicians' views on the guidelines and availability of antiretroviral therapy (ART) drugs and specialized tests. A case note review of 2044 patients was conducted to assess adherence to guideline recommendations plus patterns of use of HIV resistance testing.

Results: Most clinicians (74.1%) report that BHIVA guidelines have influenced care at their centres. A significant minority report problems with access to specialized tests. Most patients who started ART did so at CD4 counts lower than guidelines recommend but in most cases this reflected the CD4 count at diagnosis of HIV. Of patients on ART, an overwhelming majority (97.6%) were receiving three or more drugs. Of those on three or more drugs, 58.9% had latest viral load (VL) below 50 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL and a further 18.1% below 500 copies/mL. Only 19.3% of patients had been tested for HIV resistance, of whom more than half showed resistance to more than one class of drugs.

Conclusions: This clinical audit provides encouraging evidence of the quality of care offered to people with diagnosed HIV in the UK. However late diagnosis means most people start ART at a more advanced stage than guidelines recommend.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Drug Resistance, Viral
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence
  • HIV / isolation & purification
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Audit*
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom
  • Viral Load


  • Anti-HIV Agents