Pilot of Non-Invasive (Oral Fluid) Testing for HIV Within a Community Setting

In a community setting of men who have sex with men (MSM), the current study sought to determine the level of undiagnosed HIV infection and to identify any associated sexual risk factors.

In sex-on-premises venues and gay bars within the inner city of Brisbane, the researchers recruited 427 MSM. In a smaller regional center, Toowoomba, 37 additional MSM were recruited. The Orasure system was used to test oral fluids for HIV antibodies. In addition to submitting an oral fluid specimen, each participant was invited to complete a brief behavior questionnaire. The confirmed serology results were linked to reported sexual behaviors, testing patterns, and HIV status.

Thirty-three of the 464 MSM surveyed identified as HIV-positive, and all were reactive by Orasure assay. Eight men who said they were HIV-negative or did not know their HIV status had confirmed Orasure reactive results, meaning that 1.9 percent of the "non-HIV-positive" men were unaware they were positive. In all, 19.5 percent of the confirmed HIV-positive men were unaware of their actual serostatus.

"A significant minority of HIV-positive MSM are currently unaware of their positive serostatus," the authors concluded. "However, an analysis of their risk behavior does not seem to indicate any significant difference to those who are HIV-negative. Interestingly, 86 percent of those who were unaware they were HIV-positive identified that they had been tested in the previous six months, and all of them claimed to have been tested in the previous two years."