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Kenya tries new viral-load test

Thirteen health organizations in Kenya will be using a new method to measure viral load in HIV-infected people. The company that manufactures the test, Sweden-based Cavidi Tech AB, claims this is an “affordable” test. Viral load tests measure the amount of HIV present in an infected person. This new test is called the ExaVir Load test and it measures the amount of the HIV protein reverse transcriptase in a blood sample, which is related to the number of virus particles.

Viral load counts are important in determining the stage of HIV infection, and in determining whether an infection is being treated successfully with antiretroviral drugs or if the virus has become resistant to the treatment. Unfortunately in many places these tests are prohibitively expensive. The equipment for the ExaVir Load test is being supplied to the health centers free of charge for one year through a partnership with the Swedish International Cooperation Development Agency.