A study has revealed that a confirmatory test of HIV infection can also be used to calculate how many recent infections have occurred in a population.
The study was led by Jorg Schupbach, from the University of Zurich.
The diagnosis of recent HIV infection usually involves special testing to spot antibodies produced in the initial course of infection.
Prof. Schupbach and his colleagues showed that analyzing data already available from an antibody test routinely used to confirm HIV infection in Switzerland could accurately estimate the proportion of people who became infected within the previous 12 months.
The antibody test (INNO-LIA HIV I/II Score, produced by the Belgium-based company Innogenetics) is not currently approved for HIV screening in the United States and is not quite popular in developing countries.
However, the test could provide a cost-effective means to improve HIV surveillance in countries that already use it for confirming HIV infection.
The study was published in PLoS Medicine.