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Submission + - PARC Builds iPod-Sized HIV Detector ( 2

MikeChino writes: Right now it’s difficult, if not impossible, to quickly detect HIV in patients living in impoverished countries. That may all change soon, though — researchers at a California outfit called the Palo Alto Research Center have built an iPod-sized handheld device that can provide an immune check-up in under 10 minutes — all with a prick of the finger. With millions of people around the world without access to a full-size laboratory, PARC’s device could revolutionize the detection and treatment of HIV.
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PARC Builds iPod-Sized HIV Detector

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  • So, according to the article, the device uses a laser to optically measure white cell count, not look at HIV itself. Aren't there other diseases of the immune system that could trigger a false positive, and lead to someone who is HIV-negative being prescribed anti-retroviral drugs? I suppose in places like Haiti, Lesotho, South Africa and elsewhere, HIV is such a problem that the benefit would outweigh the risk. Still, I wouldn't want to be the one who was misdiagnosed...
    • I imagine that just like many of the "quick" tests, if it comes back positive then you'd run another more thorough test to verify before going through treatment (if they even have it available). The information would still be valuable to tell people they are likely infected with HIV so they should take extra precautions to not spread it even if they can't seek treatment.

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