ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- It’s estimated 1.1 million people in the U.S. live with HIV. But one in seven are unaware they even have it. Now, there’s an easier than ever way to find out if a person is HIV positive.
Rolando Rodriguez can carry a tune. Music and his health are always at the top of his mind. Today, he’s taking a screening test for HIV.
“It is an epidemic. I mean it is something that could threaten your life and your health,” Rodriguez said.
The Insti test is simple and quick. The process starts with a finger prick. A few drops of blood go into a solution and about sixty seconds later a patient knows if he’s infected with HIV.
Shirlene Manuel, Prevention and Sexual Health Specialist, told Ivanhoe, “This is groundbreaking for us.”
Manuel has been testing for HIV since the eighties. It used to take weeks to get results. She thinks speeding up the process could slow down the spread of infection.
“It has made a difference in the amount of tests that we see come into the office now and the amount of testing that we are doing out in the community,” Manuel explained.
This rapid result test is in line with the President’s HIV initiative to end the epidemic by 2030.
“If we can reach those people that are at high risk quicker we can get that epidemic really down where it should be,” Brian Bailey, Metro Inclusive Health CMO, said.
Rolando’s test came back negative, giving him peace of mind and something to sing about.
Experts said there is one thing for patients to consider… very recent HIV infection might not be picked up by the Insti test since the body might not have produced enough detectable antibodies. Doctors suggest patients ask their health care providers if they should consider getting retested in three to six months.
Contributors to this news report include: Emily Maza Gleason, Producer; Chris Tilly, Videographer; Ken Ashe, Editor.