Officials urge wide use of rapid HIV test

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 14 2003 1:00 AM ET

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging greater use of a rapid HIV antibody test that can produce results in about 20 minutes in order to identify newly infected people as soon as possible and prevent them from spreading the virus, The New York Times reports. Speaking at the 10th annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston, Ronald Valdiserri, deputy director of the CDC's National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, said that the new OraQuick test, marketed by OraSure Technologies, should be part of routine health screenings for members of at-risk populations. He also said that because the tests provide quick results without requiring sophisticated lab work, they should be used for street outreach campaigns in communities experiencing HIV infection rates. About 280,000 of the nation's estimated 950,000 HIV-positive Americans are unaware that they carry the virus. Because they do not know they are HIV-positive, these people put their sex partners at high risk of infection, Valdiserri said.