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MMWR Report Examines False-Positive Oral Fluid Rapid HIV Tests

June 19, 2008

"False-Positive Oral Fluid Rapid HIV Tests --- New York City, 2005--2008," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: MMWR examines recent increase in the number of false-positive HIV test results in oral fluid testing with OraSure Technologies' OraQuick Advance Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's 10 sexually transmitted infection clinics. MMWR reviews the two times these increases have been identified in New York City and how officials there responded. According to the report, the reason "for the episodic increases in false-positive oral fluid tests has not yet been determined." Currently, the health department has suspended the use of oral fluid testing in the STI clinics, and finger-stick whole-blood testing is the only rapid HIV test being used. These "findings underscore the importance of confirming all reactive HIV tests, both from oral fluid and whole-blood specimens," according to MMWR. The findings also indicate that the health department "strategy of following up reactive oral fluid test results with an immediate finger-stick whole-blood test reduced the number of apparent false-positive oral fluid test results and might be a useful strategy in other settings and locations," the report says. The report also notes that "CDC continues to encourage the use of rapid HIV tests because they increase the number of persons who are tested and who receive their test results" (MMWR, 6/18).

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