SOURCE: Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute

November 24, 2008 12:04 ET

CLSI Recognizes World AIDS Day

WAYNE, PA--(Marketwire - November 24, 2008) - Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) is proud to recognize the importance of the global initiative to stop AIDS with the acknowledgment of World AIDS Day on 1 December 2008.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 33 million people are living with HIV worldwide and most do not know they are infected. There are an estimated 22.5 million people living with HIV, or 68% of the global total, in sub-Saharan Africa. While treatment for HIV and AIDS has improved and become more widespread since 1988, many still do not have access to it. In 2007, 69% of people in low- to middle-income countries needing treatment did not receive it. Without treatment, many will die within the next two years.

"CLSI has been actively involved in fighting AIDS through our work in various African nations. Our goal is to improve laboratory quality and build capacity in these countries by utilizing CLSI's 'best practice' standards and guidelines. The ultimate goal, by accurately diagnosing disease and monitoring treatment, is to improve the quality of medical care for HIV patients," says Barbara Sullivan, CLSI Senior Director, Laboratory Strengthening.

Sullivan explains, "Accurate diagnosis is critical. The ramifications of faulty laboratory testing could have severe consequences, up to and including death for some patients. While recently in Africa, a story was recounted by an official of his own misdiagnosis, and how it affected him as a patient. He went to two laboratories for testing and they produced negative results for malaria. His symptoms continued to worsen. He was told he had typhoid by the second laboratory and was put on treatment, but still continued to worsen. He had experienced malaria symptoms before, which prompted him to visit a third laboratory where he finally tested positive for malaria, and was treated successfully. The outcome was positive in this example. However, the objective of CLSI's efforts are to build laboratory capacity so all laboratories are producing high-quality, accurate results."

Sullivan adds, "Once a patient is diagnosed correctly, it is essential that the entire menu of laboratory testing is of high quality. The drugs used in treatment of AIDS and other infectious diseases can affect a patient's well- being. Good quality laboratory results across the board lead to better outcomes and greater patient confidence and compliance. The CLSI program identifies needs in the resource-limited laboratories and provides support services, assessment, training, education, and technical assistance."

"In Tanzania, where CLSI has been providing support services for several years, the five in-country laboratories have seen a remarkable improvement in laboratory quality in the latest assessment done in October 2008. Not only did the laboratories sustain all of the quality system essentials (QSE) that were introduced, but they went above and beyond expectations," says Sullivan.

In addition to continued work with building laboratory capacity in Tanzania, CLSI has expanded its efforts to Namibia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Côte d'Ivoire. CLSI is committed to building global health partnerships that strengthen clinical laboratories and improve the quality of health care worldwide.

CLSI's Global Health Partnerships efforts are supported by grants from the US-based President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) administered by a cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other programs are supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

World AIDS Day began in 1988 when health ministers from around the world met and agreed on the concept of the day as an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of AIDS and show solidarity for the cause. The World AIDS Campaign supports universal access to AIDS prevention, treatment, care, and support. For more information about World AIDS Day, visit http://www.worldaidscampaign.org/.

For additional information on CLSI or for further information regarding this release call +610.688.0100 or visit www.clsi.org.

CLSI, formerly NCCLS, is a global, nonprofit, membership-based organization dedicated to developing standards and guidelines for the health care and medical testing community.

Contact Information

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