Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a global health problem. Early diagnosis, rapid antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation and monitoring of viral load are the key strategies for effective HIV management. Many people in resource limited settings where timely access to medical care is a challenge and healthcare infrastructure is poor have no access to laboratory facilities and diagnosis is dependent on the presence of point of care (POC) devices. POC instruments have shown to be easy to operate, maintain and transport and can easily be operated by less skilled health workers. Additionally, POC tests do not require laboratory technicians to operate. POC devices have resulted in a growing number of people testing for HIV and thereby receiving treatment early. In recent years, there has been great improvement in the development of POC technologies for early HIV diagnosis, HIV viral load and cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4) measurement. This review discusses POC technologies that are currently available and in the pipeline for diagnosing and monitoring HIV. We also give an overview of the technical and commercialization challenges in POC diagnostics for HIV.
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