BY NATHAN COLLINS
Public health officials have a tough choice to make when it comes to screening people for HIV: administer a reliable blood test that can detect infections early on, but that few people will volunteer for, or give people a convenient test using saliva that is less reliable during the first stages of infection.
A new test could change that. Developed by Stanford chemists in collaboration with the Alameda County Public Health Laboratory, the test combines the convenience of spitting in a cup with the reliability of blood tests, they report in the January 22 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“The earlier you can detect, the better, because people can infect other people,” said Carolyn Bertozzi, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and a professor of chemistry. “Every day that goes by that a person’s behavior is not modified based on their HIV status is a day that they could be infecting other people, especially for young people,” said Bertozzi, who is also a faculty fellow of Stanford ChEM-H and a member of Stanford Bio-X.
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