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Congress strips
funds for rapid HIV testing

Congress strips
funds for rapid HIV testing

Congress on Friday stripped a provision from a Health and Human Services funding bill that would have allotted $12 million to purchase OraQuick rapid oral HIV tests in the wake of reports of a high number of false-positive test results from groups conducting HIV screening in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, The [Allentown, Pa.] Morning Call reports. The provision would have provided about one fifth of test maker OraSure Technologies' annual revenue. Congressional sources say the money was cut as part of a larger $1 billion package of budget cuts, but the loss of funding comes at a time when test maker OraSure Technologies is being buffeted by questions about the accuracy of its rapid oral HIV tests.

Health officials in San Francisco say they are stopping use of oral rapid HIV tests at many venues because of too many false-positive results, and on the Thursday the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, one of the largest providers of HIV antibody testing in Los Angeles County, said it would stop using the oral tests.

On Friday, December 9, alone, OraSure Technologies stock plunged 26%, and it has lost 39% of its total value since. In a press release issued December 9, OraSure said the company is working with health officials and government agencies to determine why some localities are experiencing high numbers of false-positive results with the oral tests. (

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