Dec 27, Colombo: The Medical Research Institute (MRI) of Sri Lanka has offered to test patients free of charge for the cryptococcal antigen to detect Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Director of MRI, Dr. Anil Samaranayake has said that highly expensive cryptococcal test to detect HIV that causes AIDS could be done free of charge at the MRI.
The official has explained that a majority of HIV positive patients die of immune deficiency and susceptibility to infections caused by an immune system that is compromised by the AIDS virus.
When a person has contracted the AIDS virus the patient becomes susceptible to many types of infection and is liable to have many health complications. The most serious condition of HIV positive patients is meningitis.
Approximately 7 to 8% of HIV-infected patients develop cryptococcal meningoencephalitis, which often leads to death.
According to Dr. Samaranayake the incidence of cryptococcal meningitis has increased in recent years due to several factors such as increasing prevalence of AIDS, the use of corticosteroids in autoimmune diseases, the use of radio- and chemotherapy for cancer therapy, and the long-term use of immunosuppressants after organ transplantation.
Immunologic detection of cryptococcal capsular antigen is a sensitive and specific procedure and it is widely recognized as a valuable diagnostic tool in such cases, Dr. Samaranayake has explained.
The test for cryptococcal antigen would help doctors to protect the HIV positive patient's immune system from being degenerated through effective drugs, he added.