Georgia: Quick Results Up Number of People Getting HIV Test
June 14, 2005
The number of people testing for HIV at the nonprofit agency AID Atlanta has more than doubled since it began offering the OraQuick rapid oral HIV test last October. Approved last year, the mouth swab test gives results in 20 minutes, compared to the older HIV testing method that required drawing blood and took up to two weeks for results. This April, AID Atlanta tested 364 clients using OraQuick, compared with just 136 people using the old test in April 2004.
"Because of the anxiety level and the anticipation of waiting a week, many people didn't want to get tested before, or they didn't show up for results," said Raphael Holloway, prevention programs manager at AID Atlanta. "We had a huge rate of no-shows before. Now we virtually have no no-shows."
According to Holloway, OraQuick's convenience, portability, and low-tech application make it more suitable for testing at health fairs, college campuses, and churches. Our Common Welfare, an advocacy health group in Decatur, is just starting to take the test to the homeless.
Atlanta-based AIDS Survival Project (ASP) also offers OraQuick testing. Greg Smith, ASP's director of prevention services, said the rapid test is proving effective in numerous ways. "We're reaching the priority groups, African-American men and women," said Smith. In addition, OraQuick is popular among couples. "They show each other their test results in the hallway," he said. "They're taking the test seriously."
At all sites, the test is offered either free or for a small fee, and testers receive extensive counseling on how to reduce risky behaviors that may lead to contracting HIV. CDC is training health professionals and others in proper testing protocols, and it funds many test sites.
06.14.05; Patricia Guthrie
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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.