June 26 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday it has recommended a new type
of HIV testing that utilizes diagnostics that can detect
infection up to three to four weeks faster, potentially
preventing the spread of the virus that causes AIDS.
The CDC is recommending so called HIV combination tests that
can detect the virus as well as specific antibodies in the blood
that would show the body is reacting to the presence of the
Currently available HIV combo tests are made by Abbott
Laboratories and Alere Inc.
Nearly 1 in 6 people living with HIV in the United States do
not know they have the virus, according to the CDC. That means
they may unknowingly transmit the virus as well as be delaying
treatment for themselves.
Roughly half of the estimated 50,000 new HIV infections each
year are transmitted by people who do not know they are
HIV-positive, the CDC said.
Speedier diagnosis is critical since many new infections are
transmitted by people in the earliest stage of infection, the
"With consistent and widespread use of this new testing
method, we can diagnose people several weeks earlier than
before," the CDC said in a statement, adding that it is
encouraging medical testing laboratories to adopt the new
approach as quickly as possible.
(Reporting by Bill Berkrot)