USAID Supports Vietnam to Use Advanced Testing That Detects HIV Infection Earlier Than Ever Before

Speeches Shim

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Individuals with early HIV infection have high viral loads, making them highly contagious. Therefore, the ability to conduct early diagnosis of HIV infections is crucial in order to indicate a person’s HIV status just two or three weeks after they are infected. With USAID support, community-based HIV testers in Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, and Hanoi provinces are using new versions of rapid diagnostic tests to identify people who have very recently been infected with HIV, and support them to quickly inform their partners who may be at risk. This also enables community-based testers to enroll HIV infected people in treatment sooner, and identify others who may be infected. Within two months of implementation, 4,209 people (3,746 male and 463 female) were tested using the Alere HIV 1/2 Ag/Ab Combo test kit and 280 of them had a reaction to the test. Among those, 78 (male) individuals were found having an early stage HIV infection and 74 of them were confirmed HIV positive. Seventy-two of the HIV positive individuals have been successfully enrolled in treatment.

So What? This innovative approach to HIV testing disrupts the cycle of infection and prevents the spread of micro-epidemics within social networks, making it possible for Vietnam to achieve its goal of HIV elimination by 2030.