As the global HIV/AIDS community prepares to commemorate World AIDS Day 2010 on December 1, there is a growing recognition that rapid HIV testing is a vital tool in battling the rising incidence of this disease around the world.

Few people appreciate this fact as keenly as Lawrence A. Siebert, president and CEO of Chembio Diagnostics, a New York-based company that develops, manufactures, markets and licenses point of care diagnostic tests. Recently in New York City, Siebert outlined some key points surrounding the importance of rapid HIV testing and his company’s efforts at developing new testing technology.

Testing is critical, said Siebert, because it is the only way for individuals to become aware of their HIV status. The advent of more effective therapies means that more people are willing to be tested, because if they turn out to be HIV-positive, there are viable treatment options to which they can then turn.

Siebert outlined Chembio’s point-of-care diagnostic tests for HIV, including a class of tests that employ a proprietary technology known as Dual Path Platform (DPP), which produces accurate test results in as little as 20 minutes. Two of the company’s rapid HIV tests are currently being used in the US, while a DPP test is undergoing clinical trials in the US but has been approved internationally and is now being implemented in Brazil.

Noting that the theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “Universal Access and Human Rights,” Siebert commented that “universal access” means maximizing the opportunity to learn one’s HIV status—the goal toward which he and Chembio are striving. He also noted that Chembio had received an approximately $1.5 million grant award from the US government’s “Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Projects” program—funding that it will apply toward projects in its product pipeline, including a combination antigen/antibody test capable of determining HIV status during the period between infection and the onset of immune response.

Source: Chembio Diagnostics Systems Inc