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In response to the strong support expressed by medical professionals, AIDS activists, and government officials at the 13th International AIDS Conferences last month, Calypte Biomedical announced that it will expand its mobile HIV-1 antibody urine testing program. Originally implemented in South Africa, the program will extend to include 41 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, an area accounting for 75% of all HIV-infected people.
Calypte and its distribution partners American Edge and African Medical Solutions (AMS), plan to duplicate their distribution approach in South Africa to extend HIV testing and education to countries in sub-Saharan Africa. AMS custom engineers large metal shipping containers into clinics that are transported by train or truck to outlying townships and remote areas. Motor vehicles also have been modified into "mobile clinics" to access some areas.
Advantages to Calypte's urine HIV-1 antibody tests are that, unlike blood samples, urine samples can be obtained by non-medical professionals, have a longer shelf life, are not considered hazardous, require no refrigeration, and do not appear to harbor the infectious virus itself.