Thirty years ago, a world without AIDS seemed impossible. Today, it’s a real goal thanks to many medical advances.
This World AIDS Day, celebrated December 1, Abbott joins others around the world in raising awareness of HIV/AIDS and in working toward "HIV Prevention" among key populations by 75 percent by 2020.
This year has seen promising progress towards these goals. Both the U.S. government and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced strategies and guidelines to help control the spread of HIV/AIDS, and one important component is regular, early testing.
Of the more than 38 million people living with HIV globally, only an estimated half of HIV-positive people know their status. This doesn’t have to be the case. With early detection, the disease can be managed, enabling people with HIV to live longer and healthy lives. Early treatment also helps prevent those who are HIV positive from developing AIDS and additional infections as well as reduces their risk of transmitting HIV to others.
For 30 years, Abbott has been committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS. In 1985, the first FDA licensed test to detect HIV antibodies in donated blood—an important milestone in safeguarding the world’s blood supply and HIV testing—was pioneered by Abbott scientists. Since then, Abbott has developed more than 20 additional HIV tests, including:
- The HIV combo test, which detects both the antibodies to the virus and the antigens (a protein of the HIV virus), makes it possible to detect HIV infection earlier than antibody-only tests.
- The HIV viral load test, which measures the amount of HIV in a person’s blood, helps clinicians monitor patients on antiretroviral treatment, allows them to provide appropriate second-line therapy if necessary (an alternative treatment option if the first one does not work).
- Collecting dried blood spot (DBS) samples show promise in helping address the increasing demand for access to HIV viral load testing, particularly in remote areas. Because the sample is a few drops of blood dried on a special paper, it is easily transported and does not require refrigeration, making it possible for clinicians to monitor how patients in remote areas are responding to HIV treatment.
Thanks to these advances and many more over the past 30 years, HIV can be a manageable disease.
This World AIDS Day, people are encouraged to do their part. Voluntary HIV testing and counseling allow people who have HIV to know their status, get life-saving treatment and care, and prevent HIV transmission to others.
Please visit these resources to learn more about HIV testing and treatment: