App puts process of AIDS testing in the palm of your hand
Friday, October 24, 2014
Ask Nitika Pant Pai about her work on a new self-test for HIV/AIDS and she’ll tell you: There’s an app for that.
“I’ve been looking at point-of-care tests since 2003,” says Dr. Pant Pai, an epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal. Her reasoning is that treatment tools and drugs are only helpful to patients if they actually get diagnosed.
And what better way to diagnose than to do it yourself with the phone? For all the different levels of intimacy we experience, few today rival peoples’ connection with their own smartphones.
Dr. Pant Pai’s self-testing app, called HIVSmart, is still a work in progress, yet it’s already attracting worldwide attention. Her project has received financial and other support from Grand Challenges Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the CIHR’s Canadian Trials Research Network.
The app, which works on Android devices and is also being developed for iPhones, takes users through a series of self-tests, for those who are concerned that they may have signs of testing positive for HIV or AIDS.