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In areas of the country that struggle with higher than average HIV rates, more early-stage testing may be needed to help newly infected individuals start therapy at the point when the virus is most treatable.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that this may be one of the most cost effective ways for reducing HIV rates in areas that have the largest problems.
Pooled nucleic acid amplification HIV testing - which tests for genetic material from the virus, rather than antibodies produced by the body to fight it - typically detects infections earlier than traditional testing methods. However, the report states that the procedure may only be cost-effective to implement in areas hit the hardest by the epidemic.
Clinics that treat high-risk populations reported that administering the test was more cost-effective than dealing of the consequences of allowing infections to progress to later stages.
While the screening strategy may not be feasible to implement at all HIV testing locations, researchers said that it may significantly improve the quality of life of individuals in areas where the disease is more common.
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