Challenges for Rapid Molecular HIV Diagnostics

Henry Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20817, USA.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases (Impact Factor: 5.78). 04/2010; 201 Suppl 1:S1-6. DOI: 10.1086/650394
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The introduction of serological point-of-care assays 10 years ago dramatically changed the way that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection was identified and diagnosed. Testing at the point of care has lead to a dramatic increase in the number of individuals who are screened and, most importantly, receive their HIV test result. As the AIDS epidemic continues to mature and scientific advances in prevention and treatment are evaluated and implemented, there is a need to identify acute (viremic preseroconversion) infections and to discriminate "window phase" infections from those that are serologically positive, especially in resource-limited settings, where the majority of vulnerable populations reside and where the incidence of HIV infection is highest. Rapid testing methods are now at a crossroads. There is opportunity to implement and evaluate the incremental diagnostic usefulness of new test modalities that are based on sophisticated molecular diagnostic technologies and that can be performed in settings where laboratory infrastructure is minimal. The way forward requires sound scientific judgment and an ability to further develop and implement these tests despite a variety of technical, social, and operational hurdles, to declare success.

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