January 23, 2013
Research appearing online January 18 in Clinical Chemistry, the journal of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), demonstrates that a handheld mobile device can perform HIV testing through blood drawn from a prick to the finger, and then synchronize the test results with a patient's electronic medical records. For the study, a team designed a device that performs the essential functions of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, which are the most commonly used laboratory diagnostic for HIV. Because of the real-time data upload, the mobile device will allow policymakers and epidemiologists to monitor disease prevalence more efficiently across geological regions. According to an AACC press release, of the 34 million individuals infected with HIV globally, 68 percent live in sub-Saharan Africa, with south and southeast Asia bearing the second greatest burden of disease. Many HIV-infected individuals in these regions cannot get tested or treated because they cannot easily travel to centralized healthcare centers. A low-cost, portable device that performs HIV testing could help to combat these trends and the overall global epidemic through assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of HIV-infected individuals in regions where resources are limited.