HIV/Aids Research

Gaia aims to develop a novel rapid, non-invasive, point-of-care diagnostic tool for monitoring patients infected with the HIV virus in low-resource community clinics..


HIV/Aids Research


Facing a Public Health Issue

Currently, there are about 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the USA, and about 56,300 people become newly infected with HIV each year. How to slow the spread of HIV and lower the risk of AIDS? The most effective approach is to connect HIV infected people to treatment early, and optimize the treatment efficiency for each individual patient. This requires that HIV infected people have regular access to blood tests that measure CD4 T cell count and HIV-RNA viral load These tests are invasive (a large blood draw), expensive ($163) and results are not available until the next visit, usually in 4-6 months. Because of the high cost, and the need for laboratory infrastructure and highly trained personnel, these tests are not typically available in low-resource community clinics where most people living with HIV/AIDS seek help. As a consequence, many HIV infected people do not start treatment when needed, or do not receive an optimal treatment.


The Technology

Molecular AIDS Test

In response to this need, our goal is to develop a noninvasive rapid test suitable for monitoring HIV/AIDS patients in low-resource community clinics. The test will be based on Stress Response Profiling (SRP) biomarkers in saliva, a new patent-pending technology developed by our company. Currently we are performing clinical studies in collaboration with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in Los Angeles. The work is sponsored by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at NIH. These studies will deliver a validated panel of saliva biomarkers for detecting response to treatment by combination anti-retroviral drugs. Selected biomarkers will be used to develop a commercial test for AIDS monitoring in 3 to 5 years. The test will be a simple hand-held device similar to the home pregnancy test. The test will be pain-free, affordable, and suitable for use in community clinics or self-testing at home. The test result will indicate HIV progression to AIDS. This result will be useful for deciding whether an HIV-infected person should start taking anti-HIV drugs, or modify the current drug prescription because it is not working well. The new test will slow the spread of HIV by connecting AIDS patients to care early and helping to personalize their HIV treatment.

Lateral Flow Device

Model of device test material


Gaia Medical Institute ™ Contributes to the SPIE Conference


Gaia CEO Dr. Sarka Southern is a Senior Member of SPIE and serves as the Conference Chair at the annual SPIE Sensing Technologies and Applications Symposium since 2007. See the full 2014 Conference Program here.

For 2015 Conference Call for Papers click here.

SPIE Website.

Updated: March 22, 2017

Current News:

Gaia Continues US Army Clinical Studies:


Gaia continues clinical studies of the Hydration Status Monitor for the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. Please visit Military Operational Medicine Research Program.

Gaia Joins Fight Against Ebola

Ebola Virus

Gaia Medical Institute ™ has joined the National Institutes of Health in the fight against Ebola. The objective is to develop a NEXT GEN screening test for early detection of Ebola and other emerging diseases.

Dr. Sarka Southern Nominated for Athena San Diego's Pinnacle Award in Life Sciences

Ebola Virus

Dr. Sarka Southern was nominated for the Athena San Diego Pinnacle Award in Life Sciences. This honor recognized extraordinary individuals, companies/organizations and educators who "personify Athena San Diego's mission of fostering the personal and professional growth of women through mentoring, education, recognition, and leadership training." Awards were presented to those who have played an exemplary role in the development and advancement of women within their organization or the San Diego community. For more information visit: Athena Pinnacle Awards

Updated: March 22, 2017

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Updated: March 22, 2017


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Where Medical Necessity Meets Innovation