Early detection of HIV is crucial in managing the virus and increasing life expectancy. In 2019, 38 million people were living with HIV and 25.4 million were on antiretroviral therapy1. Not knowing your HIV status may shorten life expectancy and unknowingly expose others.
"Over two-thirds of all people living with HIV live in the WHO African Region (25.7 million)"2.
At the same time, the region faces substantial challenges in the provision of laboratory facilities to quickly diagnose and treat those infected3.
Turnaround times in rural settings are often 2 weeks due to sending samples from the rural clinic to urban facilities. A significant proportion of the people tested in rural areas do not return for their results (1/3 - 1/2), affecting efforts to scale up HIV intervention measures. Testing at the rural level needs tests that are quick, user-friendly, simple, and affordable4.
Becton Dickinson (BD) has developed the BDFACSPresto technology that has a sample incubation period of 18 minutes and two minutes for the test. The machine also has video instructions and is also battery operated – both of these factors lend significant portability to the machine5.
Faster diagnosis means more people tested and faster implementation of ART - one day versus two weeks. “In 2018, 1.6 million people were living with HIV in Tanzania. Despite the numbers, Tanzania has done well to control the epidemic over the last decade. Scaling up access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) has meant that between 2010 and 2018, the number of new infections declined by 13% and the number of people dying from an AIDS-related illness has halved.” 6.
The outcome of early intervention in rural areas means extended life expectancy, mitigation of transmission and the saving of lives. The BDFACSPresto system is therefore helping manage the AIDS pandemic in these remote areas (meeting SDG3) and has immense replicability in developing economies.