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From amfAR: Recency testing, limited strategy

Blinded By Our Own Data

[Excerpt] The report outlines how recency-based testing is limited:

  • It fails to diagnose individuals with true recent infections (infected less than six months) between 35% and 68% of the time;

  • Recency testing alone in the field returns false positive results between 15% and 90% of the time as being on treatment, having advanced HIV disease, and other factors can affect the accuracy of the test;

  • The inter-reliability of recency testing is suspect;

  • Routine program data are likely to bias results in unpredictable ways; and

  • Recency testing doesn’t provide real-time information.

The approach also raises ethical and human rights concerns and requires substantial financial and human resources that come directly at the cost of core HIV service delivery, say the report’s authors.

Ultimately, the report concludes that a recency-based surveillance system cannot overcome its limitations to provide actionable data to identify real and potential HIV "hot spots."

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(Credit: Shared on MSM Sexual Health - Asia)

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