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IAS 2015: HIV Self-Testing May Help "Hard to Reach" Learn Their Status, but Uncertainties Remain

HIV self-testing (or home testing) is likely to have an important place in future global HIV strategies, but at the moment there are significant gaps in the evidence base of how it may best be made available, to which populations, and with what kind of support. So while the World Health Organization (WHO) has clearly signaled its enthusiasm for the approach, its new guidance on HIV testing, launched at the 8th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention last month in Vancouver, reviews what we know so far about self-testing but does not actually recommend it. Several self-testing studies were also presented at the conference.

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IAS 2015: WHO Urges More HIV Testing Outside Clinical Settings, Targeting Those Who Need It Most

In addition to recommending that routine HIV testing in medical settings be expanded to reach new groups, the World Health Organization’s new guidance on HIV testing also recommends the delivery of testing by non-medical 'lay providers," often in community settings. The guidance urges planners to make careful, strategic choices about which HIV testing interventions will be best able to reach individuals with undiagnosed HIV. New approaches may be needed to reach key populations.

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IDWeek 2014: Social Network Strategies Encourage HIV Testing

Face-to-face social networking among peers is a more effective and proactive way to identify people with HIV infection than standard counseling, testing, and referral methods, according to study findings presented yesterday at the IDWeek 2014 conference in Philadelphia. In an analysis of 45 sites in Wisconsin, researchers found that social networking strategies identified a higher proportion of people who tested HIV positive than traditional methods.

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June 27 Is National HIV Testing Day -- Diagnosis Rates Vary Widely in U.S.

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), an opportunity to promote HIV screening and awareness of its importance as an entry point to the continuum of care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 14% of people living with HIV do not know they are infected, but new CDC data released this week show that HIV diagnosis rates vary substantially across the country, ranging from 77% in Louisiana to 90% or higher in 5 states.

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June 27 Is National HIV Testing Day

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), an annual opportunity to promote HIV screening and awareness. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 6 people with HIV do not know they are infected, and therefore are not receiving the care and treatment that could improve their own health and prevent transmission. The CDC this week issued new recommendations using modern technology to facilitate earlier diagnosis.

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BHIVA 2015: Undiagnosed HIV Infections Picked Up When Testing People with Other Medical Conditions

A Europe-wide project offering HIV tests to hospital patients with glandular fever symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, a low white blood cell count, a low platelet count, or pneumonia has found that over 3% of tested patients had previously undiagnosed HIV, according to a presentation at the British HIV Association (BHIVA) annual meeting last month in Brighton. This significantly exceeds the level of 0.1% HIV prevalence at which routine HIV testing interventions are considered to be cost-effective. 

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Nearly 25% of HIV Diagnosed in Emergency Rooms Is Acute Infection

Only a small percentage of the more than 22,000 people tested for HIV at an emergency department in Phoenix were found to be infected, but of these nearly one-quarter had acute or recent infection, during which viral load is high and onward transmission is more likely, according to a study published in the June 22 advance edition of Annals of Emergency Medicine.

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FDA Approves Roche's Simultaneous Blood Test for HIV, HBV, and HCV

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Roche Diagnostics' new cobas TaqScreen MPX screening test, which can simultaneously detect genetic material of HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) in donated blood and plasma, the company recently announced.

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New Recommendations for Earlier HIV Screening and PrEP for Women

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists last week issued 2 new recommendations on screening and prevention of HIV in women. The first matches the CDC's recommendation that HIV screening should start at age 13 and should be offered at least annually to at-risk women. The second advises that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) -- using antiretroviral medications such as Truvada to prevent HIV infection -- may be a useful tool for women at highest risk, including those with HIV positive male partners.

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