Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

07 October 2011

Quick Follow-Up Testing Increases the Rate of People Seeking Antiretroviral Treatment

via The New York Times, by Nicholas Bakalar

In low-income countries, as many as two-thirds of those in need of antiretroviral drugs to treat H.I.V. infection never get them. One reason is that after a positive H.I.V. test, many patients never return to the clinic for the next step — a test to determine blood levels of CD4 cells, a measure of immune function essential to deciding whether treatment is needed, and if so, what kind.

New equipment makes it possible to determine CD4 counts immediately after a patient tests positive for H.I.V. A study published online in The Lancet last week found that so-called point-of-care testing in Mozambique has resulted in a substantial increase in the number of patients whose CD4 counts are evaluated.

Researchers studied results at four public health clinics in Mozambique, looking at data on more than 900 patients who were found to be infected before and after point-of-care CD4 testing was instituted. About 70 percent of them were women.

Before quick testing was available, 42 percent of infected patients returned to learn their CD4 count at a subsequent visit. After point-of-care testing began, 78 percent of infected patients were evaluated — that is, almost twice as many infected people took this important first step toward drug treatment.

“These point-of-care technologies are great and are going to solve lots of access issues,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Ilesh V. Jani, director of the National Institute of Health in Mozambique. “But they are not magic bullets. The 78 percent means that we have managed to increase efficiency. But where did the other 22 percent go?”

Read the Abstract of the study here.

[Content that is linked from other sources is for informational purposes and should not construe a Mapping Pathways position.]

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