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Abimbola FarindeAbimbola Farinde, Pharm.D., is a clinical pharmacist specialist with specializations in psychopharmacology and geriatrics.

Approximately 50,000 Americans are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) each year. The HIV infection can ultimately result in the onset of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can negatively impact the body’s ability to fight disease through the destruction of CD4+ T cells. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 million people are currently living with HIV in the United States and about 15,000 individuals died from the disease in 2010, citing an urgent need for more effective detection and treatment regimens. In recent months, the Food and Drug Administration has made noteworthy approvals for the detection and treatment of the HIV. The first breakthrough approval, the Alere Determine, was the first of its kind for the  detection of HIV-1 p24 antigen as well as antibodies to both HIV-1 (responsible for most infections) and HIV-2 (primarily found in West Africa) in human serum, plasma, and venous or fingerstick whole blood specimens.

The approval of this test is for use as an adjunct in the diagnosis of the HIV-1 and HIV-2 infection, and also to differentiate between HIV-1p24 antigen and HIV antibodies within a single test. The potential benefits include more immediate detection rates of the HIV-1 infection that could not be observed with the testing for HIV-1 antibodies by themselves. The ability to observe through early detection and ultimately confirm early diagnosis and treatment can ultimately help to reduce HIV transmission patterns.

On the heels of the HIV detection test was the approval of Tivicay, an integrase strand transfer inhibitor that is used to treat the HIV-1 infection. Tivicay can be used in both HIV treatment-naïve and HIV-infected treatment-experienced adults, as well as those who have been previously treated by other integrase strand transfer inhibitors.

With these new tests, HIV-treatment regimens can be tailored to align with the needs and current conditions of HIV-infected individuals. The movement towards promoting earlier identification and greater therapeutic selections for the treatment of HIV demonstrates the growing awareness of public health concerns and continuing efforts to manage disease transmission and progression.

In the aftermath of these two approvals, would it be prudent to infer that more concerted efforts are being placed on developing and optimizing an HIV detection and treatment protocol?