New Orleans: New HIV Test Cuts Wait Time for Results
September 4, 2003
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For the past month, three New Orleans sites have offered HIV testing using a recently approved blood test that delivers results in just 20 minutes. As part of a national initiative sponsored by CDC, the OraSure tests have been given free on an anonymous basis, with pre- and post-test counseling. The NO/AIDS Task Force operates two sites, and the other site is at the Drop-In Center operated by Tulane University in the Faubourg Marigny district.
The new test is a big improvement over the blood test used since the mid-1980s, which usually took around two weeks for results, said James Swire, coordinator of community outreach programs for the task force. As many as one in three people did not return for their results with the old test, said Swire. "This [new test] takes away the fear of coming back," he said.
After the FDA cleared OraSure for sale, CDC ordered 250,000 test kits to use as part of its nationwide strategy to reduce the spread of HIV, said David Oxley, OraSure's director of governmental affairs.
Drop-In Center Director Edward Bonin said the OraSure test has been a boon to personnel there because most of its young patients are homeless. "These people don't go to doctors. We need to go where they are," said Bonin.
To date, feedback about the OraSure test has been overwhelmingly positive, according to people at the test sites and the state Office of Public Health, which is overseeing the program. But Jean Redmann, the task force's education director, has heard some critics say the test forces patients and counselors to prepare for life-altering information in just 20 minutes.
Kaylee Barker, regional account manager for OraSure Technologies, said the test is expected to be offered later this year at another New Orleans site and at a site in Baton Rouge.
Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
08.31.2003; John Pope
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.