The National, Tuesday October 8th, 2013
A MEDICAL specialist has described the soon-to-be-rolled planned national viral load testing programme as timely and the best state-of-the-art molecular testing platform that will help clinicians to know if a person has HIV.
Dr John Millan, a HIV surveillance adviser with the National Department of Health, was speaking in Kokopo last Friday during the New Guinea Islands prescribers workshop for health workers.
He said the testing platform was an upgrade to the manual testing system when a person’s antibody recognised HIV and the viral load test would test and diagnose the virus itself.
“If the screening test it not clear, we can always collect blood samples to further undergo the special test which will determine whether the person has got HIV,” he said.
“If antiretroviral treatment (ART) is not working and we want to know if it is failing and whether to switch to a second line drug treatment, this is the test that will be used.”
He said the HIV drug treatment has been in the country for about ten years.
He said during this time some patients had not been faithful.
He said because HIV was a virus that changed and if a person missed his treatment, the virus became resistant.
Millan said the testing unit would most likely be based in Port Moresby and at the Institute of Medical Research in Goroka.
He said the testing equipment was expensive and training technicians to be trained to use such sophisticated machines was an expensive exercise.