WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- New research appearing online today in Clinical Chemistry , the journal of AACC , shows that a handheld mobile device can check patients' HIV status with just a finger prick, and synchronize the results in real time with electronic health records. This technology takes a step toward providing remote areas of the world with diagnostic services traditionally available only in centralized healthcare settings.
Of the 34 million people infected with HIV worldwide, 68% of them live in sub-Saharan Africa, with South and Southeast Asia bearing the second greatest burden of disease. Many HIV-infected people in these regions are unable to get tested or treated because they can't easily travel to centralized healthcare centers. This creates an extreme economic burden on already-poor nations, with the epidemic estimated to cause a 1.5% annual loss in gross domestic product each year for the worst-affected countries. It has also created 16.6 million AIDS orphans—children who have lost one or both parents to the disease.
A low-cost mobile device that performs HIV testing could help combat these trends, and the overall global epidemic, by enabling the diagnosis and treatment of HIV-infected people in resource-limited settings. In this study, a team including Curtis D. Chin , PhD, and Yuk Kee Cheung , PhD, designed a device that captures all the essential functions of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, the most commonly used laboratory diagnostic for HIV. The authors show that the device performs laborator