We were very pleased to read that the FDA has given approval to a new HIV test that detects not just antibodies to HIV (the body’s immune response to the virus) but also the virus’ antigen itself. By making it easier for laboratories to test directly for the virus itself, health care providers can more easily diagnose immediately after potential exposure (during the period known as acute infection). Most current HIV testing, such as the OraQuick tests that Vermont CARES uses, only detects antibodies, meaning these tests may not detect HIV infection before the body’s immune system produces those antibodies. Antigen-detecting tests should speed up HIV diagnosis by weeks.
While this is not likely to be widely available in community-based organizations, medical care facilities may adapt it sooner. To note, if you are in Vermont and feel you have been recently exposed to HIV, please contact us and we can discuss testing and treatment options with you: 800/649-2437.
Link to the FDA press release here: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm216375.htm?sms_ss=email