The device has a chip that uses just a drop of blood to detect HIV levels, the researchers said.
Testing for levels of HIV in the blood is important because it allows patients to see if their HIV medications are working properly.
HIV treatments can lower levels of the virus in the blood to nearly zero, but if the virus develops resistance to the drugs, levels in the blood will rise.
Current tests for HIV levels can take at least three days and require blood to be sent to a laboratory, which can be very difficult in some parts of the world, the researchers in the new study said.
The new device is portable, and the test takes less than 30 minutes.
“Monitoring viral load is crucial to the success of HIV treatment,” study co-author Dr. Graham Cooke, of the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, said in a statement.
Testing for HIV levels is also a way for doctors to check if patients are taking their HIV medications.
To use the device, a drop of blood from a patient with HIV is placed on a spot on the chip.
If HIV is present, it will trigger a change in acidity, and this change is transformed into an electrical signal that is sent to the USB stick, the researchers said.
In the study, the researchers tested about 990 blood samples, and the test was up to 95 percent accurate in detecting HIV levels.
Medical practitioners should go on a wide search on this to combat HIV more efficiently.