In a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports, a group of nine scientists announced they have devised a simple method to detect the presence of HIV RNA.
According to an article posted to the Gizmodo website, HIV-1 levels can be detected by putting a single drop of blood on a specially-devised USB stick and plugging it into a computer's USB port.
"When blood is placed onto a spot on the USB stick, it senses the HIV-1 virus through a change in acidity levels," reports Gizmodo's George Dvorsky. "A mobile phone chip in the USB stick converts this information into an electrical signal, and the stick then feeds the result to an app on a handheld device or computer ... In the latest research, the USB stick tested 991 blood samples with 95 percent accuracy, with an average time to produce a new result just shy of 21 minutes."
At present, this testing method, which looks at the virus's RNA rather than the antibodies produced by the infection, targets those already infected with HIV.
"The current treatment for HIV reduces virus levels to practically zero," Dvorsky notes, "but in some cases, the anti-retroviral medication stops working, typically due to the HIV virus developing a resistance to the drugs. The new USB stick can detect the rise in HIV levels, and flag a potential problem with a patient’s meds or therapy."
Though still in its early stages, if the scientists' invention survives further testing, this new method of HIV detection could be a boon to the adult industry, since the results of the test is reported within 30 minutes, as opposed to the 24-hour turn-around offered by most clinics serving the adult performer community. In fact, such testing could be performed on adult sets just before a scene begins shooting, making performer-to-performer HIV transmission, none of which has occurred within the past 12 years, virtually impossible going forward.