California: Program Offers Free Early-Detection HIV Test
December 27, 2007
A more accurate HIV test is now being offered for free at three San Diego-area locations thanks to a joint research effort by the University of California-San Diego's Antiviral Research Center (ARC) and San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency.
The Procleix "early test," which uses technology by Gen-Probe Inc., eliminates nearly all the false negatives typically found with traditional blood or saliva HIV tests, said Dr. Sheldon Morris, an AIDS researcher and clinical professor of medicine at ARC in Hillcrest.
Standard tests look for antibodies that a person's immune system can take weeks or months to produce in response to HIV infection. However, Procleix detects genetic particles in HIV itself, narrowing the time between some patients' infection and their diagnosis. Health experts recommend people get retested to confirm HIV infection if the Procleix test is positive. Procleix also captures evidence of hepatitis C infection.
While standard antibody test results are available in an hour, Procleix results take two weeks, as blood samples must be sent to the Red Cross testing center in St. Louis, Mo.
The Procleix research program was launched in the county about a year ago at the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center in University Heights. A state grant of about $150,000 has allowed the initiative to recently expand to include two other clinics. Other testing sites are being considered.
The aim is to assess whether early testing can be offered successfully at clinics throughout the state. A CDC-funded pilot project in San Francisco and Los Angeles is also using Procleix.
San Diego Union-Tribune
12.27.2007; Cheryl Clark
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.