Global Health

Immune system monitoring is an essential component of treating people living with HIV/AIDS. Accurate measurement of a patient's CD4 count enables clinicians to determine when to initiate antiretroviral treatment (ART).

ART reduces susceptibility to opportunistic and potentially lethal infections, enabling HIV/AIDS patients to sustain a productive life. CD4 testing is also useful in evaluating the effectiveness of and adherence to ART.  BD's flow cytometers, which measure CD4 counts, have been used for decades in laboratories worldwide for immune-system monitoring of HIV patients and for HIV vaccine research.

BD entered into an agreement with the William J. Clinton Foundation in 2004 to expand accessibility of advanced CD4 cell counting technology for immune system monitoring of people living with HIV/AIDS throughout the developing world.

Tuberculosis (TB) is difficult to treat and challenging to diagnose, especially when working with HIV/AIDS patients. The testing method used almost universally in the developing world, the sputum acid-fast smear, is over 115 years old and is largely ineffective in HIV/AIDS patients because the majority have too few TB bacteria in their sputum to readily observe under a microscope. As a result, false negative tests are very common. Inaccurate diagnosis not only contributes to the continued rapid spread of TB, but also to growth of drug resistance. While multiple drug-resistant forms of TB have been a problem for some time, a more recent and alarming trend is emergence of extensively drug resistant TB, or XDR-TB. Patients with XDR-TB do not respond to first- or second-line drug treatments for TB.

BD entered into an agreement with the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) to improve diagnosis of TB in developing countries. This agreement established demonstration sites in Africa, Eastern Europe including Russia, and Asia to introduce advanced culture technology for rapid and accurate diagnosis of TB, including drug-resistance testing.