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States » East


Rapid HIV testing saves lives – it’s time to make the switch

Rapid HIV testing saves lives – it’s time to make the switch

Kolkata, Nov 13 (UNI) The World Health organization (WHO) has issued a strong

recommendation on HIV testing, urging countries to stop using the slow, less

accurate western blot and line immunoassay methods in favour of simple, rapid

tests.

It is vital that people who are unknowingly living with HIV are tested and given

antiretroviral treatment (ART) without delay. ART prevents HIV from developing

into AIDS and, once the virus level in the blood is so low it is not detectable in a

blood test, it enables people to live with the virus without passing it on to others.

Dr Masoud Dara, Coordinator for Communicable Diseases at WHO/Europe,

said, “Rapid HIV testing saves lives by making testing more accessible and

reducing waiting times. When such testing is conducted in the community with

a caring and people-centred approach, people are more likely to come forward

to be tested.”

“ If the test is positive, then treatment should follow as soon as possible; if the

test is negative, then there’s an opportunity for advice on steps to avoid future

infection, such as taking HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis and using condoms.

Either way, testing is where care starts,” Dr Dara said.

New testing strategies lead to quicker, more accurate results

This recommendation follows a rigorous analysis of the latest available evidence

and the systematic review of current practice that WHO conducted while revising

its global recommendations on HIV testing services this year.

The review compared testing strategies that use western blot/line immunoassay

methods for confirmation of HIV diagnosis with those that use a combination of

rapid diagnostic tests that can be given at the point of care and enzyme

immunoassays. It found that testing strategies using rapid diagnostic tests

combined with enzyme immunoassays were faster, more accurate and less

expensive overall.

MORE UNI BM SJC

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