New test many improve HIV testing rates in underdeveloped countries
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It's important for doctors to diagnose sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV as quickly as possible for the most effective treatment. However, this can be particularly difficult in underdeveloped nations, where a lack of proper equipment can often lead to viruses going undiagnosed.
Recently, scientists from Imperial College London announced that they have developed a prototype of a sensor that could allow doctors to detect the early stages of many diseases with the naked eye, which would hopefully improve diagnosis rates in countries like Africa, where HIV rates are high and healthcare facilities are lacking.
The team claims that this sensor could also effectively diagnose a variety of diseases including prostate cancer and HIV.
"Our approach affords for improved sensitivity, does not require sophisticated instrumentation and it is ten times cheaper, which could allow more tests to be performed for better screening of many diseases," said researcher Molly Stevens.
The sensor analyzes blood serum from a subject in a specific container. If the nanoparticles in the blood clump together irregularly and emit a blue hue, it could be the marker of a virus. If the blood separates into a ball-like shape and appears red, the blood is likely healthy. These results can be clearly seen with the naked eye, which eliminates the need for a microscope or other expensive equipment that doctors in underdeveloped countries may not have.
In the U.S., it is simple to get screened for HIV. Anyone who is at risk for this life-threatening virus should visit an STD testing center, where a simple blood test can provide a fast diagnosis. It's important for anyone who is worried that they may have an STD to refrain from sexual activity until they get tested.
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