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New Method For HIV Testing Holds Promise For Developing World

Some of the places most affected by HIV and AIDS such as sub-Saharan Africa (almost a third of all new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths globally) are also the same places least likely to be able to afford adequate testing for the disease in some of it's most critical patients, newborns.

Now a new technique for testing, monitoring and early detection is being developed by researchers who recently completed a 10-month trial in Tanzania. "Duke Physician John Crump and a team of researchers" experimented using dried blood spots in place of frozen plasma to determine the presence of the infection in newborns. "The infection cannot be detected in newborns using the typical HIV antibody test, and must be detected with other techniques, including viral load testing."

Viral load testing however requires that the sample be shipped frozen which makes the cost of such test prohibitively high. Dried blood spot testing however, is relatively affordable and has shown to be as effective as the current standard that uses frozen plasma for obtaining viral load measurements.

"Viral load testing is also the optimal way for monitoring HIV infection in patients with known infections, especially for those receiving treatment."
 
 

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