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L.A. Gay and
Lesbian Center stops using oral HIV test

L.A. Gay and
Lesbian Center stops using oral HIV test

Officials at the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center said Thursday they will stop using the oral version of the rapid OraQuick HIV test due to growing concerns about its reliability. In November, 13 people who took the oral test at the center falsely registered as HIV-positive. Clinics in San Francisco and New York have also reported large numbers of false positives with the popular test. Those who registered as HIV-positive with the oral test were immediately retested with a different diagnostic, as is the case with all preliminary HIV tests, to determine their actual status. The wait for the results from a confirmatory test, however, can be agonizing. "If the public loses confidence in the reliability of HIV tests, they're just going to stop testing, and we can't allow that to happen," said Quentin O'Brien, director of the center's health and mental health services. "Fortunately, we've noticed no irregularities with the rapid finger-stick test and have already been successful in convincing clients to opt for that test now." The L.A. center provides an average of 800 free HIV tests each month and has offered clients two options for rapid testing: the OraQuick oral test and the OraQuick finger-stick test. Clients also have the option of taking the OraSure oral test and the traditional blood test, both of which deliver results in seven days. Since the rapid oral test is the least invasive and delivers results in about 20 minutes, it is the favorite of about 80% of those who test at the center. HIV testing counselors will now suggest the OraQuick finger-stick test, which tests a drop of blood rather than oral material but also delivers results in 20 minutes. In Los Angeles there are an estimated 15,000 people who are unaware they are HIV-positive. (Advocate.com)

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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