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U.S. News

Georgia: Local Clinics Split Over HIV Test

January 20, 2006

Three Atlanta clinics that provide HIV testing say they have not experienced similarly high false positive results reported by some California and New York clinics using the OraQuick Advance rapid HIV test on oral fluids. Manufactured by OraSure Technologies, the OraQuick Advance rapid HIV test is also used to test plasma, fingerstick and venipuncture whole blood specimens.

"We've certainly not had any major problems with the oral test and have had minimal false positives," said Michael Banner, director of prevention services at Our Common Welfare. "But we've decided to go back to the finger prick test until we get a definitive answer from OraSure." Banner said an estimated 5 percent of the 400-500 people the agency tests monthly are HIV-positive.

"Our numbers are consistent with the manufacturer's guidelines of less than 1 percent. We may see one false positive out of every 800 or 900 tested," said Raphael Holloway, prevention program manager for AID Atlanta, which tests about 300 individuals per month.

"We explain this is a preliminary test and how the entire process works," said Holloway. When an oral test result is HIV-positive, patients are given a more accurate confirmatory blood test.

"We test an average of 100 people a month and have had very few false positives," said Greg Smith, director of prevention services for AIDS Survival Project. "We see the test as the first step in determining an individual's HIV status."

OraSure, the Food and Drug Administration and CDC are investigating factors that may have led to higher false positive rates in some New York and California clinics.

"At this time, CDC is not recommending any changes in testing procedures, as current counseling and testing protocols provide adequate safeguards to ensure that individuals with positive rapid results receive an accurate HIV test result after confirmatory testing," said Jennifer Ruth, a CDC spokesperson.

Back to other news for January 20, 2006

Adapted from:
Southern Voice (Atlanta)

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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