Levinia Crooks, CEO ASHM
Clinical posts from members and guests of the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) from various international medical and scientific conferences on HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, and sexual health.
Essential viewing for those interested in HIV testing and the contribution of testing tor prevention
Session 35: New Frontiers in HIV Testing
Bernie Branson from CDC gave a fabulous talk on HIV Diagnosis: New Tests and New Algorithms. Those of us involved in any of the current disucssion about testing really should view this whole talk. It should be up on the CROI Website shortly.
His slides are most informative, particulaly a graph which plots back from when a Western Blot would detect HIV infection, indicating how many days before a Western Blot 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation tests can identify infection.
He describes a number of the initiatives to increase testing and is encouraging the adoption of the recently updated algorithm for HIV testing in the laboratory. The algorithm and supporting evidence is published in the December 2011 issue of The Journal of Clinical Virology. He also disucsses mechanisms to get conventional testing more available and review a number of Point of Care Tests.
He raises the issue of the implications of new tests including home based tests. He is cautious about some of the tests failing to identify new sero-conversions and makes reference to findings that men are reporting they would use test results to assist them in sero-sorting (so having the wrong result could have significant implications).
It is a great talk I suggest you view it and share it with your colleagues.
The second talk in the symposium is by Blayne Cutler, from New York City Health and Mental Hygiene. She reviews a number of strategies which have been put in place in the Bronx and more recently Brooklyn to increase HIV testing. She approaches this from the point of who has never tested and their attempts to reverse this. 60% of people have never tested and of these the majority are adult men. She also examines some strategies to move testing into the community and get programs supported at implementation level.
These two talks have been hugely informative.