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Community Health: Education, Prevention and Inspiration

Empowering people to make healthy, respectful and responsible choices.

New HIV Rapid Test

Posted by Tammi A. Tannura -

Today's rapid HIV tests only look for the body's immune system response (HIV antibodies) to having HIV. If a person's immune system is producing HIV antibodies, then that person is HIV positive (they have HIV), otherwise their body wouldn't be producing antibodies to fight HIV in the first place.

Now, a new rapid test is able to detect both HIV-1&2 antibodies as well as a particle of the virus itself called HIV-1 p24 antigen. A sample of blood, plasma or human serum is required for the test. Most cases of HIV infection in the United States result from infection by HIV-1. HIV-2 infections are prevalent in West Africa.

Why is this important?

The detection of HIV-1 p24antigen and absence of HIV antibodies indicates a more recently acquired HIV infection, whereas the absence of HIV-1 p24 antigen and the detection of HIV antibodies signals that HIV has been present for a longer period of time. HIV antibody tests currently only tell patients if they were infected 3-6 months ago and prior.

What's the public benefit?

Diagnosing HIV infection earlier can help to reduce HIV transmission to sexual and needle-sharing partners, as well as preserve the HIV infected patient's health therefore prolonging the progression to AIDS.

It is estimated that more than a million people are living with HIV infection in the United States, of whom 1 in 5 (20%) are not aware of their infection.

Source: Valentine, N. (2013, August 12). "Rapid HIV test approved by FDA." Medical News Today. Retrieved on August 20, 2013 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264665.php



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