A successful four-month pilot study of the OraQuick rapid HIV antibody test in the Tenderloin section of San Francisco has prompted city health officials to plan to expand rapid testing to a total of 15 city locations by the end of 2004, reports the Bay Area Reporter. The test was offered at Glide Health Services by the San Francisco Department of Public Health and was well-received by both gay and straight clients during the pilot study, officials said.
"Everyone I have talked to running the programs is very pleased with the responses and surprised [that] people are willing to come in and do all that in one visit," Dana Van Gorder of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation told the Reporter.
City officials hope expanding the testing will reduce the number of people who do not return for their test results when taking a standard HIV antibody test (it can take a week or longer to receive results). About 15% of San Franciscans taking standard HIV tests don't return for their results, according to the health department. The OraQuick test can provide results in about 20 minutes. Rapid testing is currently available at Glide, the AIDS Health Project, Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic, and Larkin Street Youth Services in the city, with additional sites to be opened throughout the year. For more information about rapid testing and testing sites, call (415) 502-TEST.