Testing times: Detecting HIV in resource-limited settings

Nov 29, 2007

Integrating HIV testing programmes into primary medical care can help achieve early diagnosis of HIV infection, even in relatively poor areas, research published in the online open access journal AIDS Research and Therapy has shown.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and the non-governmental organisation Partners In Health (PIH, www.pih.org), both based in Boston, USA set out to see if HIV diagnosis was delayed because doctors missed opportunities to test people who were at risk of HIV during clinic visits.

The team works with the Haitian Ministry of Health to improve patients' access to primary care in central Haiti. This includes "provider-initiated HIV testing" (offering patients HIV tests when they visit primary care clinics) and the provision of free HIV treatment if required. The researchers then looked back at records from a single primary care clinic to examine the 'missed opportunities' and delays in diagnosing patients with HIV.

The researchers found few missed opportunities for diagnosis in the clinic - 85% of the first 112 patients found to have HIV were diagnosed on their first visit to the doctor. Patients with HIV who were not diagnosed on their first visit had to wait a median of just 62 days until diagnosis.

In the developing world, much HIV testing is done through maternity clinics or special HIV clinics that perform voluntary counselling and testing (i.e. on request of the individuals themselves) but that often do not provide other medical services or comprehensive HIV treatment. The authors suggest that provider-initiated testing at primary care clinics can be an effective way to identify patients with HIV infection.

They write: "HIV prevention and treatment programs will not achieve success without addressing the urgent need for individuals to be aware of their HIV status in a timely manner and provider-initiated testing can be a successful strategy to address this concern."

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: Condoms 'too small' for Uganda men

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Team developing mobile DNA test for HIV

Jun 05, 2014

(Phys.org) —Rice University bioengineers are developing a simple, highly accurate test to detect signs of HIV and its progress in patients in resource-poor settings.

Pocket diagnosis

Mar 19, 2014

A new app which turns any smartphone into a portable medical diagnostic device could help in the fight against diseases including HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in the developing world.

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 0