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Home Industry News Early diagnosis plea on World Aids day

Early diagnosis plea on World Aids day

1st December 2008

The United Nations is appealing for international donors to help it fund early HIV/Aids testing it says could save millions of lives.

Thirty-three million people are living with HIV in the world today and the UN says it wants to use World Aids day to highlight the importance of early testing and treatment.

A combined report from the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (Unicef), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids) says the majority of infants in the developing world are not tested for the virus until they are 18 months.

Unicef says a new test, dubbed the dry blood spot (DBS) test, could spot the virus at six weeks, enabling infants to undergo treatments of life-saving retrovial drugs.

The examination involves taking a small drop of blood from the infant, drying it for 24 hours and then taking it to a lab which has a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine to test and within two weeks the baby could have its results.

Unicef UK’s chief executive David Bull said: “Without treatment, half of all children with HIV will die by their second birthday. But if they are diagnosed and put on treatment within their first 12 weeks of live, survival rates are 75 per cent higher.”

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