Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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In 2009, Public Health England (PHE) introduced the routine application of a recent infection testing algorithm (RITA) to new HIV diagnoses, where a positive RITA result indicates likely acquisition of infection in the previous six months. Laboratories submit serum specimens to PHE for testing using the HIV 1/2gO AxSYM assay modified for the determination of HIV antibody avidity. Results are classified according to avidity index and data on CD4 count, antiretroviral treatment and the presence of an AIDS-defining illness. Between 2009 and 2011, 38.4% (6,966/18,134) of new HIV diagnoses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were tested. Demographic characteristics of those tested were similar to all persons with diagnosed HIV. Overall, recent infection was 14.7% (1,022/6,966) and higher among men who have sex with men (MSM) (22.3%, 720/3,223) compared with heterosexual men and women (7.8%, 247/3,164). Higher proportions were among persons aged 15-24 years compared with those ≥50 years (MSM 31.2% (139/445) vs 13.6% (42/308); heterosexual men and women 17.3% (43/249) vs 6.2% (31/501)). Among heterosexual men and women, black Africans were least likely to have recent infection compared with whites (4.8%, 90/1,892 vs 13.3%, 97/728; adjusted odds ratio: 0.6; 95% CI: 0.4-0.9). Our results indicate evidence of ongoing HIV transmission during the study period, particularly among MSM. .


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