Every December 1, the world rallies to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS as part of World AIDS Day. Great strides continue to be made in prevention, treatment and care.

According to UNICEF, this past decade alone, we’ve seen a 15 percent reduction in new infections worldwide and a 22 percent decline in AIDS-related deaths. Yet there are still many infected people who don’t know their status and many others who do not have access to quality care.

This year’s theme for World AIDS Day is "Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation." Abbott supports World AIDS Day through its long history in HIV testing, which began with the development of the world's first test to detect HIV in 1985 and continues today.

Most recently, the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) and International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group (IMPAACT) chose Abbott's RealTime HIV-1 test as the preferred standard test for measuring levels of the HIV-1 virus in people enrolled in AIDS clinical trials. The role of the two networks is to establish models for management of HIV disease and inform current treatment guidelines around the world.

"There is no better validation for the accuracy and reliability of Abbott's tests and instrumentation than selection by the ACTG and IMPAACT to continue to be their standard testing system for HIV-1 viral load," said John Coulter, president, molecular diagnostics, Abbott. "Abbott's commitment to HIV began more than 30 years ago, and today, we further our fight against HIV with an important partner and common goal to help improve patient care."

The growing prevalence of variant subtypes of HIVhave prompted increasing numbers of clinical laboratories to adopt the Abbott RealTime HIV-1 viral load assay. The test is among the most sensitive and precise viral load tests available today, with a broad dynamic range and the ability to detect and precisely measure all known genetic variations of HIV.

Despite the advancements over the past three decades, HIV continues to be a significant global public health issue. According to UNAIDS, in 2012 new cases of HIV infection totaled 2.3 million globally, and an estimated 35.3 million people were living with HIV around the world. Abbott is addressing this global issue through the development of innovative diagnostic tests as well as investing in programs to increase access to care.

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