A new technology developed in the US may change the way people test for HIV and syphilis.

Researchers at Columbia University claim that the mChip – a device the size of a credit card – can determine whether or not you have syphilis and/or HIV within 15-minutes.

The mChip, which is short for microfluidics-based optical chip, requires only one drop of blood and its developers say that it has a 100 percent detection rate, although there’s a four-to-six percent chance of getting a false positive – a statistic similar to traditional laboratory tests.

The results don’t require any human interpretation and it’s believed the technology could be made cheaply available.

It’s hoped that the mChip will help testing efforts in places like Africa.

Executive director of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, Rob Lake, said he was looking forward to this development generally, but that it would be a while until we saw it readily available locally.

“This is not an imminent breakthrough for Australia,” he said.

“Things that make testing easier to access are welcome but the approval, licensing and funding all has to happen.

“I don’t think it’s even completed trials. Five years would be super fast.”

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