New HIV Clinical Champion for Southwark
The CCG is pleased to announce the appointment of an HIV Clinical Champion to support practices and federations in raising the profile of HIV in Southwark.
Funding for the new post has been secured for six months, and local GP Dr Cristina Guallar, a partner at the New Mill Street Surgery, has been appointed following a successful recruitment process. She has been an HIV specialist doctor for the last 15 years and has worked on HIV care projects internationally.
In her new role, she will work in member practices one day a week, taking forward the local campaign on HIV testing within primary care, aiming to increase rates of testing in local practices through targeted education and support. She will also work closely with the Public Health, specialist HIV GUM teams, HIV charitable organisations and the 'Change the Face of HIV' Awareness in Primary Care (HIVAP) campaign team.
Dr Guallar said: "I am truly enthusiastic about this project. We know that people living with HIV who are treated are no longer infectious to others. This means we could potentially stop HIV transmission and avoid new infections by diagnosing people earlier and starting them immediately on treatment.
'The new NICE guidelines recommend GPs offer an HIV test to everyone at least once a year in high prevalence areas. This approach requires a change in our mindset, normalising HIV testing as a routine screening in general practice. I look forward to working with my GP colleagues in Southwark to improve the outcomes for people with HIV in the borough."
Southwark has the second highest prevalence of HIV nationally, and there are an estimated 560 people who are yet to be diagnosed across the CCG area. In 2014, 190 patients were newly diagnosed with HIV, of whom 74 were diagnosed at a late stage of infection.
CCG Chair Dr Jonty Heaversedge said: "In recruiting to this new role we had some excellent candidates and I am delighted that Cristina has been successful. She has commendable experience and interest in HIV care. I'm sure she will help us change the face of HIV in Southwark, helping ensure those living with undiagnosed HIV are identified and treated as early as possible."