January #88 : P24 - by Tom Beer

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January 2003

P24

by Tom Beer

While some may shriek at the idea of exporting the West’s problematic med tech to the Third World, others argue it’s better than nothing. P24-antigen tests may hit big in poor parts as a cheapish way to check not only if an HIVer should start combo therapy but how well it’s working. The test measures p24 antigen, a protein in the core of HIV, which, in turn, indicates how much virus is in the blood. Its virtue is cost: $20 to $30 per, compared to $152 for a standard viral-load test. Its vices: p24 is essentially a surrogate for a surrogate (HIV RNA) and so is not nearly as accurate as the rich-world way.  



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