April #122 : Oral Fixation - by Kellee Terrell

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Table of Contents

Anonymous No More

Editor's Letter-April 2006

Dead Certain?

Tough Breaks

Hepatitis C: New Help Is on the Way

Blowing Smokes

Doctor's Diary-April 2006

Tasty Freeze

Snack Pack

Double Duty

POZ Personals of the Month-April 2006

Toon Darn Hot

Legal Eye-April 2006

Office Politics

Worldwide Web

Up Close and Impersonal

Border Patrol

A Virus in Verse

Oral Fixation

Germ Warfare

Sleeping With the Enemy

The Plot Thickens

Editor's Letter-April 2006

Mailbox-April 2006

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

email print

April 2006

Oral Fixation

by Kellee Terrell

Reading a Rapid Test Misfire

The FDA approved the first rapid oral HIV test, OraQuick Advance, in the fall of 2004—and AIDS advocates salivated. Finally: mobile, blood-free testing, simply by swabbing gums. But is it reliable? In late 2005, a rash of false OraQuick positives swallowed hope of immediate over-the-counter sales. At least ten HIV test sites subsequently dropped OraQuick—including the New York City Department of Health. But the majority of testing sites continue to swab.

Orasure Technologies, maker of OraQuick, has yet to pinpoint the problem—but maintains that the test is reliable. Preliminary Centers for Disease Control data show that clinical error, not the test itself, may be to blame, though they note that those testing positive should follow up with a blood test. As POZ went to press, the FDA was reconsidering over-the-counter sales. And Orasure’s stock, which slumped after the scandal, recovered when President Bush plugged rapid tests in his January 31 State of the Union Address. On-site OraQuick dispenser Jude de Los Reyes, of New York’s Gay Men’s Health Crisis, says, “Since OraQuick was introduced, we’ve tested more young people and people of color. We can even get tests to places like Gay Pride.” A truly positive result.     

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