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Out Spoken, a gay-themed cable TV show airing in the San Francisco Bay area, will mark its one-year anniversary next week by having its host take a rapid HIV antibody test and receive his results on the air. Program host Tim Gaskin will take an OraQuick rapid HIV test, which uses an oral swab to test for HIV antibodies, and be given the results of the test 20 minutes later on the program.
Gaskin says the program will mark the first time an HIV test is administered and results given on a television program aired in California. State AIDS officials had to craft a unique testing protocol for the program because standard HIV antibody testing regulations include requirements that test results remain confidential and that counseling sessions be offered before and after testing to test takers, Gaskin says.
The one-year anniversary episode of Out Spoken includes the live HIV test to help raise awareness that rapid testing is now widely available throughout the city, Gaskin says. Recipients of standard HIV antibody tests have to return days later to receive their results, and as many as one third of those tested never come back for them, AIDS experts say. Many people at risk for HIV infection also are never screened for HIV infection because of the long delays or because they do not wish to have their blood drawn for testing. Gaskin and other AIDS advocates hope that promoting rapid testing will encourage more people to be screened for the disease.
Out Spoken is a monthly talk show and newsmagazine program airing in the San Francisco area. The program featuring Gaskin's rapid HIV test will debut at 6:30 p.m. on October 25 on Comcast channel 11, and repeat at 8:30 p.m. on October 26, at 7 p.m. on October 29, and at 8 p.m. on October 30. The episode also includes segments on James Hormel, San Francisco radio personalities Fernando Ventura and Greg the Gay Sportscaster, Miss Trannyshack 2004's Anna Conda, and Bay Area Reporter columnist and drag performer Donna Sachet. (Advocate.com)