7 Dec 2009

Faster AIDS tests could be on the way for the Pacific

6:12 am on 7 December 2009

Faster AIDS tests may be available within the next year for many Pacific countries so they will no longer have to send blood samples to overseas laboratories for confirmation.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community's Regional AIDS Coordinator, Jerry Cole, says Australia and New Zealand are funding research into the rapid tests, with work currently underway in Melbourne.

"Well that work is going to be done now, and we've basically got the National Reference Laboratory, based in Melbourne, which is actually doing some work on samples that are available, to see which rapid test might work best for the Pacific."

Jerry Cole says if countries choose to accept the new tests, local laboratory staff will be trained in their use, meaning people will know their HIV status a lot more quickly.

Mr Coles says the number of confirmed cases of people with HIV can generally be increased ten fold to give a more realistic idea of the true number infected in any particular country.