HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a retrovirus that leads to Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is a disease in which the immune system gradually collapses and leaves itself open to infections, including life-threatening ones.

Since 1981, when it was first detected, 25 million people worldwide have died from HIV/AIDS and 0.6 % of humans on this planet are HIV infected. HIV is considered a pandemic and it is spread from host to host via body fluids like blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk.

Treatment consists primarily of anti-retrovirals but the virus mutates rapidly and there are strains that can become drug resistant. A person can be under attack a number of forms of the same virus.

Current diagnosing tests can only detect these resistant forms in high levels, which often delays in the treatment. Further more, they are usually too expensive and don't always give accurate readings.

Scientists have developed a new method that detects drug-resistant strains of HIV more quickly since it is more sensitive and it can also find traces of the strain at low levels. The new method is done by just one blood test and enables patients get the right treatments.

Further more, the new method can differentiate the strains, which could help singling out the unique pattern of infection in a particular individual. This will aid in tracking the progression of HIV mutations and enable doctors prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Other scientists welcomed the development of the new method that will certainly improve treatment outcomes for HIV infected people.