Why is there heightened interest in assays for recent HIV infection at present?
Many countries, particularly in sub Saharan Africa, are considering or starting to include HIV recency testing in their ongoing HIV surveillance activities to estimate HIV incidence or they are conducting operational research studies to explore the use of routine recency testing in HIV testing services. The primary objectives of the operational research studies are to determine the feasibility of these assays for the individual and at the population level.
Activities to incorporate recency testing into HIV surveillance and HIV testing and treatment programs are largely funded by PEPFAR and carried out with support from PEPFAR implementing partners. ICAP at Columbia University and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) are supporting implementation of recency testing in via the TRACE initiative in more than 15 countries. Information on recency testing is included in the current COP guidance. Outside of PEPFAR, the MeSH Consortium is conducting three pilot studies in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Kenya to investigate the potential use of recency testing in the service-provision context.