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Cleveland Agencies, Groups Frustrated by Delays in Receiving HIV Test Results, People Not Returning for Results

September 14, 2005

The federal government is urging state and local health departments nationwide to step up HIV testing efforts to identify HIV-positive people who are unaware of their status, but agencies and AIDS service organizations in the Cleveland area say they recently have been frustrated by delays in receiving test results, clients who do not return to learn their results and reductions in federal funding to help pay for supplies and HIV/AIDS prevention programs, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. CDC is encouraging the use of rapid HIV testing, which can take as little as 20 minutes to process, but the test "has been slow to catch on" in the Cleveland area, according to the Plain Dealer. The Cleveland Department of Public Health last year was selected as one of 11 sites in Ohio to offer OraSure Technologies' OraQuick rapid HIV test, which uses either blood or oral fluid samples. The department recorded an increase in their HIV testing rate and the number of HIV cases it detected. However, the rapid HIV test, which costs about $12 each, is "still a luxury" for Ohio's 200 testing sites because traditional blood or oral fluid HIV tests cost less, about $6 each, according to the Plain Dealer. The Ohio Department of Health estimates that it spends $350,000 annually on HIV testing. Since 2002, Cleveland has detected an average of 145 new HIV/AIDS cases annually (McEnery, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/12).

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