PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This article aims at examining the key recent advances in the field of EID, as well as at discussing approaches for resolving the major bottlenecks faced by health systems in the identification and linkage to care of HIV-infected infants.
RECENT FINDINGS: Programmatic experience in South Africa and research in other high-burden countries showed that birth HIV testing is accurate, feasible and has the potential to decrease infant mortality. Substantial evidence has mounted on the accuracy of point-of-care testing for EID, including for birth testing. Importantly, it has now been demonstrated that point-of-care EID improves the rate of results return to patients and has significant positive effect on ART initiation rates. Finally, there are good examples of how EID fits into more comprehensive and integrated packages of services covering the antenatal, birth and postpartum periods.
SUMMARY: Point-of-care testing for EID, including for birth testing, should be widely implemented to complement laboratory-based testing in high-burden countries. Most of the current barriers for timely EID testing and ART initiation in infants are related to weaknesses in the health system, and will require the implementation of comprehensive approaches aiming at scaling-up these interventions within strengthened primary healthcare services.