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Rapid HIV Testing Increases Possibility of Treatment


Piera Damonte
Content Editor
Medcompare.com

According to a November, 2005 joint press release from UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) and the World Health Organization, the number of people living with HIV globally reached an estimated high of 40.3 million people in 2005, with over 3 million deaths caused by AIDS. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control shows that over one million people in the United States are now living with HIV/AIDS and with 24 27% undiagnosed and unaware of their status. To address the large number of people who are unaware of their status, considerable progress has occurred in prompt, definitive screening for HIV in the physicians office or clinic setting.

According to the CDC website, when standard testing was used during year 2000, 30% of persons who tested HIV-positive and 39% of persons who tested HIV-negative did not return to learn their HIV status. Additionally, Abbott Diagnostics states on their website that each year, 8,000 HIV-infected people who come to public clinics for HIV testing do not return to receive this critical test result. By contrast, a rapid test will allow the patient immediate access to emotional counseling and medical treatments, as well as lifestyle education to address the further spread of HIV. The ability to rapidly screen for HIV at the point-of-care is likely to yield considerable emotional and medical benefits.

During the March 10, 2006 FDA Blood Products Advisory Committee meeting, studies were proposed to support the approval of over-the-counter home use of HIV test kits, bringing this possibility one step closer to reality. While the mail-in Home Access HIV-1 Test System received PMA in 1996, the pros and cons of at-home HIV testing with rapid results have been debated for years. Medical advancements in AIDS treatment and the ongoing movement to limit the spread of HIV are compelling arguments for rapid home
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