Got needle-phobe friends who balk at getting tested for HIV? Now they can keep their sleeves on and drop their drawers instead. A painless urine test has been FDA-approved since 1998, and it’s cheaper and just as accurate as the red threat. But most Americans remain clueless about it—perhaps because it’s offered only in doctor’s offices. “It’s a shame,” said Alvin Friedman-Kien, MD, who discovered HIV antibodies splashing around in urine in 1988. A skeptical scientific community considers urinalysis a form of slumming, since it can’t expose the antibodies of most other viruses. And like its blood-drawing cousin, the result of a urine HIV test still requires confirmation by Western Blot. But now Calypte, the test’s manufacturer, is getting a boost out of the water closet from Magic Johnson. The ex-baller has teamed up with the company to leak, er, spread the word.
September 1, 2003 • By Jennifer Block